Three Moons Cast Shadows on Jupiter

Stsci_2004-30a_1024

stsci_2004-30a November 4th, 2004

Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)

At first glance, Jupiter looks like it has a mild case of the measles. Five spots - one colored white, one blue, and three black -- are scattered across the upper half of the planet. Closer inspection by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals that these spots are actually a rare alignment of three of Jupiter's largest moons -- Io, Ganymede, and Callisto -- across the planet's face. In this image, the telltale signatures of this alignment are the shadows [the three black circles] cast by the moons. Io's shadow is located just above center and to the left; Ganymede's on the planet's left edge; and Callisto's near the right edge. Only two of the moons, however, are visible in this image. Io is the white circle in the center of the image, and Ganymede is the blue circle at upper right. Callisto is out of the image and to the right. On Earth, we witness a solar eclipse when our Moon's shadow sweeps across our planet's face as it passes in front of our Sun. Jupiter, however, has four moons roughly the same size as Earth's Moon. The shadows of three of them occasionally sweep simultaneously across Jupiter. The image was taken March 28, 2004, with Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. Seeing three shadows on Jupiter happens only about once or twice a decade. Why is this triple eclipse so unique? Io, Ganymede, and Callisto orbit Jupiter at different rates. Their shadows likewise cross Jupiter's face at different rates. For example, the outermost moon Callisto orbits the slowest of the three satellites. Callisto's shadow moves across the planet once for every 20 shadow crossings of Io. Add the crossing rate of Ganymede's shadow and the possibility of a triple eclipse becomes even more rare. Viewing the triple shadows in 2004 was even more special, because two of the moons were crossing Jupiter's face at the same time as the three shadows. Jupiter appears in pastel colors in this photo because the observation was taken in near-infrared light. Astronomers

Provider: Space Telescope Science Institute

Image Source: https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2004/news-2004-30

Curator: STScI, Baltimore, MD, USA

Image Use Policy: http://hubblesite.org/copyright/

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Image Details

Image Type
Planetary
Object Name
Jupiter
Subject - Solar System
Planet > Type > Gas Giant
Planet > Satellite

Distance

Universescale1
0 ly

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 10h 51m 53.9s
DEC = 8° 46’ 21.3”
Constellation
Leo

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue Hubble (NICMOS) Infrared 1.1 µm
Green Hubble (NICMOS) Infrared 1.7 µm
Red Hubble (NICMOS) Infrared 1.9 µm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Stsci_2004-30a_1280
×
ID
2004-30a
Subject Category
A.1.1.2   A.1.4  
Subject Name
Jupiter
Credits
NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (University of Arizona)
Release Date
2004-11-04T00:00:00
Lightyears
8.22e-5
Redshift
8.22e-5
Reference Url
https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2004/news-2004-30
Type
Planetary
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Average AU from Sun: 5.2
Facility
Hubble, Hubble, Hubble
Instrument
NICMOS, NICMOS, NICMOS
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Infrared, Infrared, Infrared
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
1080, 1660, 1900
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
162.97477083, 8.77258889
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
STScI
URL
http://hubblesite.org
Name
Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach
Email
outreach@stsci.edu
Telephone
410-338-4444
Address
3700 San Martin Drive
City
Baltimore
State/Province
MD
Postal Code
21218
Country
USA
Rights
http://hubblesite.org/copyright/
Publisher
STScI
Publisher ID
stsci
Resource ID
STSCI-H-p0430a-f-900x900.tif
Resource URL
https://mast.stsci.edu/api/latest/Download/file?uri=mast:OPO/product/STSCI-H-p0430a-f-900x900.tif
Related Resources
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2004/30
Metadata Date
2022-09-07T00:00
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
0