Pasithee is a moon of Jupiter. This particular moon is part of the Carme group and is a retrograde satellite with an eccentric orbit. It is one of Jupiter‘s outer moons that is believed to have originated from a Type D asteroid rather than being a part of the original Jupiter system. This moon was discovered in 2001.
The Discovery Of Pasithee
Pasithee was discovered, along with many other of Jupiter’s smaller moons, on December 11, 2001 by a group of astronomers at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. These astronomers are: Scott S. Sheppard, David C. Jewitt and Jan T. Kleyna.
The Origins Of Pasithee
Pasithee is one of 17 moons in the Carme group. The Carme group is part of the Jovian satellite family. These moons all share similar appearances and orbital patterns which has led astronomers to believe they came from the pieces of one original asteroid that broke apart.
Astronomers generally agree that the asteroid from which this group of moons came was likely a type D asteroid. It is also possible that this asteroid came from the Hilda family of asteroids, also known as the Jupiter Trojans.
When the original asteroid suffered a collision, it would have broken into multiple pieces that are now known as moons, or natural satellites, of Jupiter. The collision may have occurred before or after the asteroid was pulled into Jupiter’s gravity. The largest remaining piece of the original asteroid is the largest moon in the group, and it is known as Carme.
The Naming Of Pasithee
Originally simply known as S/2001 J6, this moon was later called Pasithee after a character from Greek mythology. Also known as Aglaea, Pasithee is one of the “Graces,” or one of the daughters of Zeus. The name means “kind to everybody.” In The Iliad, by Homer, Pasithee was married to Hypnos, the god of sleep.
The International Astronomical Union chose a name ending in E in keeping with their policy for naming the outer moons with retrograde orbits.
Characteristics Of Pasithee
All of the moons in the Carme group are retrograde satellites. This means that they have an orbital pattern that moves in the opposite direction to that of Jupiter’s. All of the moons in the Carme group are also characterized by eccentric orbits. Eccentric orbits occur when a moon’s orbit is elliptical in pattern rather than circular. In comparison to Jupiter’s equatorial plane, the moons in the Carme group are also highly inclined.
All of the moons in the Carme group are also red in color. Most of the moons, with the exception of Kalyke, are light red in hue. Further, all of the moons in this group are irregular in shape, rather than being spherical. Natural satellites tend to be irregular in shape when they lack the mass to pull themselves into spheres.
With such similarities in orbits and appearance, it is easy to see how astronomers have concluded that all of the Carme moons originated from the same asteroid.
Statistics On Pasithee
Pasithee is a very small moon with a mean radius of only one kilometer. As a size comparison, this moon is 6371 times smaller than the Planet Earth. It has a mass of approximately 14,986,684,330,972 kilograms.
This moon is situated at a distance of 14 million miles, or around 23 million kilometers, from the planet Jupiter. Pasithee takes 719 Earth days to complete a full rotation of the parent planet.