A colourful family portrait combining images of Jupiter and three of its Galilean moons – Ganymede, Europa and Io – as seen by NASA’s Juno orbiter. The images were captured by the spacecraft’s public-domain JunoCam instrument and processed by two “citizen scientists.” Kevin Gill produced the images of Jupiter (far right), Ganymede (far left) and its icy neighbour Europa while Thomas Thomopoulos processed an image of volcanic Io. Launched in August 2011, Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since July 2016. Data collected by the JunoCam imager is available to the public for processing and sharing.
Observers with a clear sky to the south as darkness falls on Sunday 7 May can see the 12-day-old waxing gibbous Moon and planet Jupiter separated by little more than twice the width of a full Moon. For telescope owners in the UK, this is a night where you can also see Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and the planet’s four large Galilean moons.
All five of the bright naked-eye planets are observable in the pre-dawn sky from about the third week of January 2016, particularly if one lives south of the equator. But even from the UK, you can get to view the spectacle if you time it right — and the weather obliges! The last time that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn appeared in the same sky was 11 years ago.