Ganymede casts a massive shadow


NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this stunning view of Jupiter during the mission’s 40th close pass of the giant planet, . The large dark shadow on the left side of the image was cast by Ganymede, Jupiter’s moon.

Citizen scientist Thomas Thomopoulos created this color-enhanced image using raw data from the JunoCam instrument (Figure 1). At the time the raw image was taken, the Juno spacecraft was about 44,000 miles (71,000 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 55 degrees south and 15 times closer than Ganymede, which orbits about 666,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) away. ) away from Jupiter.

An observer atop Jupiter’s clouds in the oval shadow would experience a total eclipse of the Sun. Total eclipses are more common on Jupiter than the Earth for several reasons. Jupiter has four major moons (Galilean satellites) which often pass between Jupiter and the Sun: in seven days, Ganymede transits once; Europe, twice; and Io, four times. And since Jupiter’s moons orbit in a plane close to Jupiter’s orbital plane, the moon’s shadows are often cast on the planet.

JunoCam captured this image very close to Jupiter, making Ganymede’s shadow appear particularly large. Figure 2, created by citizen scientist Brian Swift using JunoCam data, illustrates the approximate geometry of the visible area, projected onto a globe of Jupiter.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and the fifth planet from the Sun. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the solar system combined, but only about one thousandth the mass of the Sun. Jupiter, behind the Moon and Venus, is the third-brightest natural object in Earth’s night sky, and it has been noticed since prehistoric times. It was named after Jupiter, the Roman god and king of the gods.

Ganymede, satellite of the planet Jupiter, is the largest and most massive moon in the solar system. It is the ninth largest object in the solar system (including the Sun) and the largest without a significant atmosphere. It has a diameter of 5,268 kilometers (3,273 miles), which makes it 26% larger by volume than Mercury, but it is only 45% as massive.

Source: This news was originally published by scitechdaily


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