Metis (moon)

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Metis (pronounced /ˈmiːtɨs/ MEE-təs, or as in Greek Μήτις), also known as Jupiter XVI, is the innermost moon of Jupiter. It was discovered in 1979 in images taken by Voyager 1, and was named in 1983 after the first wife of Zeus, Metis. Additional observations made between early 1996 and September 2003 by the Galileo spacecraft allowed the surface of the moon to be imaged.

Metis is tidally locked to Jupiter, which led to a high asymmetry in the shape of the moon, with one of the diameters being almost twice as large as the smallest one. It is also one of the three moons in the Solar System known to orbit its planet in less than the length of that planet's day, the other two being Jupiter's Adrastea and Mars's Phobos. It orbits within the main ring of Jupiter, and is thought to be a major contributor of material to the rings.

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Discovery and observations

Metis was discovered in 1979 by Stephen P. Synnott in images taken by the Voyager 1 probe and was provisionally designated as S/1979 J 3.[6][7] In 1983 it was officially named after the mythological Metis, a Titaness who was the first wife of Zeus (the Greek equivalent of Jupiter).[8] The photographs taken by Voyager 1 showed Metis only as a dot, and hence knowledge about Metis was very limited until the arrival of the Galileo spacecraft. Galileo imaged almost all of the surface of Metis and put constraints on its composition by 1998.[4]

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