The Discovery of Kale
The Jovian moon, Kale was first discovered by astronomers at the University of Hawaii. From their base at the Mauna Kea Observatory, a team headed by Scott S. Shepherd and David C. Jewitt set out to discover as many moons of Jupiter as possible in the first years of the 21st-century. The effort paid off with the group identifying a large number of moons from the year 2000 onwards. Kale was discovered by the University of Hawaii team on December 9, 2001.
The Orbit of Kale
One of the key ways of identifying the background of the moons of Jupiter is to look at the direction each Jovian satellite moves in. Kale moves in the opposite direction to the spinning of Jupiter, which is classed as a retrograde orbit. The moon sits at an average distance of 14.4 million miles from the surface of Jupiter but does move closer and further away as it is affected by the gravity and tides of the planet. The slight movement of the moon means it does not have a circular orbit around Jupiter but moves in what is known as an eccentric or elliptical orbit around the planet. Due to the massive nature of Jupiter and the tiny size of Kale in comparison, it takes 729 days for the moon to complete a single orbit of the planet.
The Size and Shape of Kale
It is difficult to obtain a clear picture of the size and shape of Kale because the moon is so small and in such close proximity to Jupiter. What we do know is the moon is one of the smallest orbiting Jupiter with a radius of just 0.6 miles. What we can be sure of is the moon does not have a classic spherical shape because it is too small to be affected by the gravitational pull of Jupiter in such a way as to affect its overall shape and size.
Kale was once part of the Carme moon
Most astronomers agree that Kale was created when a much larger asteroid was sucked into the orbit of Jupiter and collided with another object. The light red color of Kale and its close proximity in orbit to 16 other objects of varying size have given rise to the theory it was once part of the moon known as Carme. This Jovian moon is thought to have once been an asteroid and retains the majority of its size from when it was captured by the orbit of Jupiter.
How did Kale get its name?
When the team headed by Scott S. Shepherd identified Kale, the moon of Jupiter was given the name, S 2001/J8 and became known as Jupiter XXXVII. In August 2003, following the tradition of naming Jovian moons after characters from Greek mythology, Kale was named after one of the daughters of Zeus. Kale is known in Greek mythology as being one of the most beautiful women to walk the planet and made an enemy of the Goddess Aphrodite who was jealous of her beauty.