During its 40th close pass above Jupiter’s cloud tops, NASA’s Juno orbiter captured a spectacular image of Ganymede’s shadow from a distance of about 71,000 kilometres (44,000 miles), 15 times closer than the moon’s 1.1 million kilometre (666,000 mile) orbit. The elongated shadow marks a total eclipse of the Sun, a phenomenon that occurs much more frequently on Jupiter than on Earth thanks to its four Galilean moons. Such “shadow transits” across Jupiter are frequent targets for amateur astronomers, but the distance between the giant planet and Earth reduce those shadows to small black dots. From Juno’s perspective, the view is much more impressive. This enhanced colour image was processed from JunoCam data by citizen-scientist Thomas Thomopoulos.
Chariklo is the largest confirmed centaur, a minor planet orbiting the Sun between Saturn and Uranus. In 2014, two rings were discovered around Chariklo. Soon after, scientists discovered that rings likely exist around another centaur, Chiron, but the origin of these rings remained a mystery — until now.
Planet Venus — the brilliant lantern hanging over the west-northwest horizon at dusk — reaches its greatest elongation from the Sun on June 6th. It’s still a month away from reaching peak brightness, but before then it has a spectacular close conjunction with largest planet Jupiter at the end of June.