10 largest satellites in the universe

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

The Universe is an amazing and mysterious place. She works on to such laws that we can only imagine remotely. Even the famous general theory of relativity, to the creation of which Albert Einstein had a hand, only in the most general terms describes the principle of the formation of celestial mechanics.

But already on it you can imagine how the stellar and planetary systems. There is a heavy object around it under the influence smaller objects revolve around gravity, and even less around them. Actually, that’s why all the more or less large planets have satellites that move in a circular orbit.

But sometimes these satellites are much more impressive than themselves. the planet. Liquid objects found at objects around Saturn! At Saturn itself is a gas planet, in which even surfaces in the usual understanding of this term may not be. Therefore in in some cases, satellites are more interesting than themselves the planet.

And for those who want to be surprised at the features of celestial mechanics, we have collected the largest satellites in the universe. Unfortunately on present human technology can hardly even see distant planets, so most of the satellites from rating is in our native Solar system.

Overview of the largest satellites in the universe

Nomination a place name The size
Rating of the largest satellites in the universe 1 Titania, satellite of Uranus 1578 KM DIA
2 Triton, satellite of Neptune 2707 KM DIA
3 Europe, satellite of Jupiter 3122 KM DIA
4 The Moon is the Earth’s satellite 3475 KM DIA
5 Io, moon of Jupiter 3643 KM DIA
6 Callisto, moon of Jupiter 4821 KM DIA
7 Titan, satellite of Saturn 5150 KM DIA
8 Ganymede, satellite of Jupiter 5268 KM DIA
9 Kepler-1625b 1, satellite Kepler-1625b 49,244 KM DIAMETER
10 WASP-12b 1, satellite WASP-12b 81548 KM DIA

10th place: Titania, satellite of Uranus (1578 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.1

Titania, satellite of Uranus

On January 11, 1787, astronomer William Herschel observed Uranus and discovered that this planet has at least two huge satellite. And the largest of them is Titania. By the way, the name of this the son of Herschel gave the heavenly body in honor of the fairy queen from the works William Shakespeare.

For a long time, only Herschel had a sufficiently powerful telescope, to watch this object. Now Titania can make out through amateur models. However quite accurate and A detailed photograph of the surface of this object was obtained. only in 1986, when research flew past the surface probe “Voyager 2”.

Due to the availability of observations about Titania, it is known quite a lot. Even maps of its surface were compiled, and the most significant relief elements bear their names. By traditions come up with toponyms by the names of heroes and names of places from the works of Shakespeare. For example, the longest canyon on surface (length of 1,492 km) is called Messina – in honor of the city of Messina, where the comedy “A lot of noise from nothing”.

Studies using infrared spectroscopy have confirmed that there is water ice on the surface of Titania. Also at the poles the satellite was found frozen carbon dioxide. And his origin causes a lot of controversy. Usually carbon dioxide is a decay product of organic matter either carbonates.

The surface of Titania is painted dark red. There is no atmosphere, although some researchers believe that in the warm seasons carbon dioxide can melt, creating a small shell around the satellite.

9th place: Triton, satellite of Neptune (2707 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.2

Triton, satellite of Neptune

Six of the eight planets in the solar system revolve around the central star counterclockwise (when viewed from North Pole of the Earth). Thirteen moons of Neptune also revolve around the planet counterclockwise. And only Triton, the largest of the satellites violates this principle. His movement is retrograde, that is, clockwise, when viewed from the north the poles of Neptune.

The reasons why this 2707-kilometer object does not rotate so like the other 13 of his comrades, maybe a few. But researchers believe that Neptune, flying past the Kuiper belt, grabbed this satellite with its gravitational field. Since triton and rotates in the opposite direction.

Triton is interesting not only in retrograde motion, but also in that he is one of the few geologically active satellites. On the its surfaces are periodically erupted by volcanoes, only They do not emit the usual lava, but almost solid nitrogen. This satellite is also dotted with traces of tectonic activity and It has an intricate relief.

The surface of Triton is very cold. average temperature is about -235 degrees Celsius. That is why nitrogen It is not in a gaseous state, but in a snow-like state. Itself the surface is covered with a thick layer of ice – not just water, but methane or nitrogen. That is why Triton reflects well sunlight – and as a result, it was possible to open it in 1846.

8th place: Europe, the satellite of Jupiter (3122 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.3

Europe, the satellite of Jupiter

One of the largest moons of Jupiter, Europe, got its the name is not due to part of the world, but in honor of the character ancient Greek mythology. In the days when it was open, the western half of Eurasia has not yet stood out in a separate geographic region. Famous Italian discovered Europe astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei, and the official date is 8 January 1610

To discover Europe, Galileo used a home-made Refractor telescope with a 20x magnification. That is today in the untagged sky you can see this satellite using amateur appliance even the elementary class. And in 1610 it is was a major discovery.

Europe has a surprisingly flat surface with high reflective abilities and almost complete absence of craters and faults. The satellite is covered in ice, and under its layer, as suggested scientists, there is a liquid ocean of water. Therefore some researchers believe that it is on this satellite that you can check the presence of extraterrestrial life.

Interestingly, the surface of Europe is also covered with freckles. According to astronomers, they were formed due to a mixture of warm and cold ice. In places of “freckles” heated material from the bottom the ocean rose to the surface, bringing with it dark mud.

7th place: Moon, Earth satellite (3475 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.4

The Moon is the Earth's satellite

The moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth and one of largest satellites in the solar system. She is so huge that its gravitational field affects the planet. Tides and low tides arise precisely because water is attracted by the moon and following her.

The moon has been known to mankind since time immemorial. Still would – it is visible almost every night on the horizon, and in some Cases of it can be discerned during the day. Moreover, the moon is real the moment is the only extraterrestrial object in the universe on which man visited. People first landed on her July 20, 1969 of the year.

Despite the many scientific directions and studies of the moon – entire companions of knowledge like selenology are allocated to this satellite – mankind still does not know exactly where it comes from took up. According to one theory, it arose due to the fact that once long ago, magmatic masses separated from the Earth and ended up in space. On the other – the moon existed as a separate quasi-planets, and then was captured by the earth’s gravitational field. Another hypothesis is called the “Giant Collision Theory.” It suggests that once Theia’s celestial body crashed into the Earth, which separated a significant part of the substance from the planet. It in in turn, under the influence of gravitational forces it took a spherical shape and turned into the moon.

Currently, the moon is considered as a possible space to create a colony. However, advances in this direction are being made. extremely slow for a number of reasons. Lunar colonies offer extremely insignificant scientific interest and almost completely absent economic.

6th place: Io, the satellite of Jupiter (3643 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.5

Io, moon of Jupiter

Io is another satellite of Jupiter discovered by Galileo Galilei with using a homemade 20x telescope refractor increase. In total, the scientist registered four gas satellites giant – and all of them are presented in our rating. Like others moons of Jupiter, Io bears its name in honor of the character Greek mythology.

Io is known for its incredible geological activity. Now it has more than 400 active volcanoes! It makes Io the most geologically active object in the solar system.

The reason for this activity is the gravitational impact. And about constantly located in the fields of attraction of three large space objects – Jupiter, Europe and Ganymede. Because on the surface there is no satellite, “tides” and “tides” are observed under the crust – in liquid magma and expanded core. So volcanoes on Io arise due to the attraction of other space objects. And during eruptions a mixture of sulfur and sulfur dioxide rises to a height of up to 500 kilometers!

In addition, the silicate surface of Io undergoes constant compression. Because of this, mountains arise on it, and some of them impressively huge. For example, the peak of South Boosawla is located on mark at 17 kilometers!

Io even has its own atmosphere, consisting of a gaseous sulfur and sulfur dioxide. And it is caused by just constant eruptions. In addition, streams escaping from under the bark of Io substances enter the plasma torus around Jupiter.

5th place: Callisto, satellite of Jupiter (4821 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.6

Callisto, moon of Jupiter

In January 1610, Galileo Galilei, watching through a telescope for Jupiter, discovered the four satellites of this gas giant. Callisto – one of them. And he is farther from the planet stronger than everyone else. how and other “Galilean satellites”, it is named after the character ancient Greek mythology.

Callisto is one of the most promising moons of Jupiter. If a humanity will ever want to master this gas giant or at least to study it closer, the “transshipment” station is place it on this satellite. More or less adequate climatic and geological conditions and low levels radiation makes Callisto a comfortable place – of course, in Comparison with other moons of Jupiter.

At the end of the last century and the beginning of the current Callisto explored spectroscopic method. It turned out that the surface of the satellite covered with silicates and water ice, and there is also carbon dioxide and some organic compounds. However a large number craters also suggests that atmospheres in the usual sense Callisto does not have this term (or it is significantly sparse). In addition, there are no traces of volcanic and geological on the satellite activity – like on the moon, for example.

4th place: Titan, the satellite of Saturn (5150 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.7

Titan, satellite of Saturn

Titan is Saturn’s largest satellite and the second largest in The solar system. And thanks to its structure, it A full planet is like! So, on its surface there are lakes with liquid. True, this is not water, but a mixture of ethane and methane. And also Titanium is surrounded by a dense atmosphere.

Titan was first seen in 1655. Due to dense nitrogen atmosphere with methane clouds its surface remained for a long time indistinguishable. Only in 2004, when a probe flew past a satellite Cassini-Huygens, scientists were able to see the dark lakes of liquid on yellowish silicate soil.

Many researchers compare conditions on Titan with those on Earth at the beginning of its development. And this is despite the fact that temperature on the satellite’s surface is far from resort temperature, up to -180 degrees Celsius. But scientists still suggest that on the simplest forms of life can exist in a satellite – for example, in underground reservoirs.

In 2004, the Huygens probe landed on the surface of Titan, who was able to convey the photo. Rounded stones are distinguishable on it. This indicates the existence of erosion in the form of both winds and precipitation. In addition, in 2006, Huygens transferred several radio spectral images, thanks to which it was possible to find out what The satellite also has high mountain ranges and dried up river beds. All this makes the Titan even more similar to the Earth, albeit in the earliest stages of existence.

3rd place: Ganymede, satellite of Jupiter (5268 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.8

Ganymede, moon of Jupiter

Ganymede – the largest satellite of Jupiter, and indeed in the Solar system. It was discovered, as usual, by Galileo Galilei on January 8, 1610 of the year. Interestingly, Ganymede is a large, but not heavy satellite. At 5268 km in diameter, it exceeds the mass of the moon only 2 times.

Most of the surface of Ganymede is covered with silicate rocks. and water ice. The latter is especially numerous at the poles. As believed some researchers, at a depth of 200 km there is an ocean of liquid water. And the core of Ganymede is red-hot, liquid and rich in iron, like most planetary-type objects with a hard crust.

Ganymede has its own magnetosphere (other satellites in The solar system cannot boast of this). It is assumed that she appeared because of a metal core consisting of molten iron. True, the Ganymede magnetosphere is extremely small and completely hidden by the magnetosphere of Jupiter, contributing to the latter only slight distortion.

Ganymede also has an atmosphere. For the most part, it consists from oxygen in its allotropic modifications – from atomic to ozone. There is also a slight hydrogen content. Also with a study of the satellite by the Galileo apparatus revealed that on it carbon dioxide, sulfuric acid and some organic compounds.

Ganymede, like other large satellites, casts a shadow on the planet. April 21, 2014 she was right on Big Red the spot of Jupiter – and it became like an eye.

2nd place: Kepler-1625b 1, satellite Kepler-1625b (49,244 km in diameter)

Rating: 4.9

Kepler-1625b 1, satellite Kepler-1625b

As mentioned earlier, due to optical imperfections technologies we can not yet detect relatively small satellites at exoplanets (i.e., planets beyond Solar system). It remains to observe only a few the largest, and one of them is the Kepler-1625b 1 facility.

Kepler-1625b 1 satellite revolves around the planet of the same name in constellation Cygnus, orbiting a yellow dwarf Kepler-1625. It was discovered by the transit method back in 2017, however, scientists still argue about its existence. This object really huge – its dimensions are similar to the dimensions of the planet Neptune in the solar system.

The planet Kepler-1625b itself is supposedly a gas giant like Jupiter. And she has “acquired” exoluna for millions of years. back during the initial formation. At this time around the star a cloud of rarefied heated substance was rotating, which under By the action of gravitational forces, it began to “stick together” into planetoid objects. One of them turned out to be larger and captured by its gravitational field other.

Both objects of the Kepler-1625b system are located in the so-called “radius of habitat” – that is, located fairly close to its sun-like star, so that, in theory, it could be born a life. However, the planet itself is a gas giant, and this is already somewhat complicates the process of formation of organisms.

1st place: WASP-12b 1, satellite WASP-12b (81548 km in diameter)

Rating: 5.0

WASP-12b 1, satellite WASP-12b

In 2012, astronomers at the Pulkovo Observatory observed the WASP-12 star system and found a rather unusual character her brilliance. This suggests that there are more than exoplanets, but also exoluna near one of them.

WASP-12b 1 – potentially not only the largest known satellites in the universe, but also the hottest. Because of the very close location to the local “sun” temperature on its surface is about 2.5 thousand degrees Celsius. Size succeeded set by the amplitude of the brightness – it is 6.4 of the diameter of the Earth, or about 81.5 thousand kilometers.

Scientists suggest that WASP-12b 1 is an exoluna in the process of formation, and at some point it just collapses to the surface stars. The fact is that she is too close. therefore it is unlikely to be able to exist in a stable form even several billion years.

The observations are complicated by the fact that the WASP-12 star is located very far – at a distance of 870 light years. She is herself a sun-like yellow dwarf that looks like our star and size and weight.


Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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