During its 40th close pass by Jupiter, our Juno spacecraft saw Ganymede cast a large, dark spot on the planet on Feb. 25, 2022.
JunoCam captured this image from very close to Jupiter, making Ganymede’s shadow appear especially large. At the time the raw image was taken, the Juno spacecraft was about 44,000 miles (71,000 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops and 15 times closer to the planet than Ganymede.
An observer at Jupiter’s cloud tops within the oval shadow would experience a total eclipse of the Sun. Total eclipses are more common on Jupiter than Earth for several reasons: Jupiter has four major moons (Ganymede, Io, Callisto, and Europa) that often pass between Jupiter and the Sun, and since Jupiter’s moons orbit in a plane close to Jupiter’s orbital plane, the moon shadows are often cast upon the planet.
Image & info via NASA
Image Credit: Data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS; Image processing: Thomas Thomopoulos © CC BY
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