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.
Juno Post-Arrival News Conference
See ringed planet Saturn at its best in July 2019
Observers in Western Europe with a clear sky around local midnight cannot fail to notice the conspicuous ‘star’ that is Jupiter low in the south. But look a span-and-a-half of an outstretched hand at arm’s length to Jupiter’s left and you’ll find another giant of the solar system – Saturn. The ringed planet is closest to Earth for 2019 on 9 July, so here is our quick observing guide.
Astronomers find giant planet around very young star CI Tauri
Contradicting the long-standing idea that large Jupiter-mass planets take a minimum of 10 million years to form, astronomers have just announced the discovery of a giant planet in close orbit around a 2 million-year-old star that still retains a disc of circumstellar gas and dust. CI Tau b is at least eight times larger than Jupiter and 450 light-years from Earth.