Kale was discovered Dec. 9, 2001 by Scott S. Sheppard, David C. Jewitt and Jan T. Kleyna at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii.


Kale is a member of the Carme group, a family of Jovian satellites which have similar orbits and appearance and are therefore thought to have a common origin. The group probably began as a D-type asteroid (possibly from the Hilda family or the Jupiter Trojans) that suffered a collision, which broke off a number of pieces, either before or after being captured by Jupiter's gravity. The largest remaining chunk (still retaining 99% of the group's mass) was named "Carme," and the smaller pieces became the other 16 moons in the Carme group.

All of the Carme moons are retrograde, which means that they orbit Jupiter in the opposite direction from the planet's rotation. Their orbits are also eccentric (elliptical rather than circular) and highly inclined with respect to Jupiter's equatorial plane. They all are very similar in color -- light red -- except for Kalyke, which is considerably redder than the others. All of these characteristics support the idea that the Carme satellites began as a captured asteroid, rather than forming as part of the original Jupiter system. None of the Carme members is massive enough to pull itself into a sphere, so they are probably all irregularly shaped.

Kale has a mean radius of about 0.6 miles (one kilometer). At a mean distance of about 14.4 million miles (23.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter, the satellite takes about 729 Earth days to complete one orbit.

How Kale Got its Name

Originally called S/2001 J8, Kale was named for one of the Graces, who were daughters of Zeus, the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Jupiter.

Kale means "beautiful,"and this characteristic sparked some problems for Kale. Aphrodite is said to have asked a seer named Teiresias who was the most beautiful, and he made the mistake of choosing Kale. Enraged, Aphrodite turned him into a poor, old, female day laborer. Kale offered Aphrodite her hair as a sacrifice and then went to Crete where, hair or no hair, she caught the eye of Arachnos, who proceeded to have intercourse with her and then boasted that he had had intercourse with Aphrodite. So Aphrodite, enraged again, changed Arachnos into a weasel -- and for good measure, changed Teiresias into a mouse.

A name ending in "e" was chosen for this moon in accordance with the International Astronomical Union's policy for designating outer moons with retrograde orbits.

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