Pasiphaë (pə-sif'-ay-ee, IPA: [pəˈsɪfəɪi]; Greek Πασιφάη) is a moon of Jupiter. It was discovered in 1908 by Philibert Jacques Melotte and later named after the mythological Pasiphae, wife of Minos and mother of the Minotaur from Greek legend.

It gives its name to the Pasiphaë group, irregular retrograde moons orbiting Jupiter at distances ranging between 22.8 and 24.1 million km, and with inclinations ranging between 144.5° and 158.3°.

Pasiphaë did not receive its present name until 1975; before then, it was simply known as Jupiter VIII. It was sometimes called "Poseidon".

It was first spotted on a plate taken at the Royal Greenwich Observatory on the night of February 28, 1908. Inspection of previous plates found it as far back as January 27. It received the provisional designation 1908 CJ since it was not clear whether it was an asteroid or a moon of Jupiter. The recognition of the latter case came by April 10.

Spectroscopical measurements in infrared indicate that Pasiphaë is a spectrally featureless object, consistent with the suspected asteroidal origin of the object. Pasiphaë is believed to be a fragment from a captured asteroid along with other Pasiphaë group satellites.[1]


  1. Brown, Michael (February 2000). "Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of Centaurs and Irregular Satellites". The Astronomical Journal 119: 977–983. Retrieved on 2006-08-05.

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