Tags: hubble | triple | eclipse | jupiter | moons

Hubble Triple Eclipse: Telescope Captures Jupiter Moons in Conjunction

By    |   Friday, 06 Feb 2015 05:17 PM

The Hubble Space Telescope captured images of a triple solar eclipse by three of Jupiter’s largest moons, an event that occurs only once or twice a decade, NASA said Thursday.

The images, shot from space, show the moons Callisto, Io, and Europa moving across the face of Jupiter at the same time.

“Seeing three moons transiting the face of Jupiter at the same time is rare,” said HubbleSite. “Missing from the sequence, taken on January 24, 2015, is the moon Ganymede that was too far from Jupiter in angular separation to be part of the conjunction.”

Astronomer Mike Wong spoke about the rarity of the event in a Hubble Hangout video.

“The tilt of Jupiter’s rotational plane ... has to be aligned such as the sun is lying in that plane,” he said. “There’s two times a year for the Earth to go into the eclipse season, so we can see lunar eclipses or solar eclipses only twice a year. That doesn’t mean there’s always going to be an eclipse.”

The images captured by Hubble show the shadows of the moons moving on Jupiter’s face.

“The moons in these photos have distinctive colors,” NASA explained. “The ancient cratered surface of Callisto is brownish; the smooth icy surface of Europa is yellow-white; and the volcanic, sulfur-dioxide surface of Io is orange. The apparent 'fuzziness' of some of the shadows depends on the moons’ distances from Jupiter. The farther away a moon is from the planet, the softer the shadow, because the shadow is more spread out across the disk.”





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The Hubble Space Telescope captured images of a triple solar eclipse by three of Jupiter’s largest moons, an event that occurs only once or twice a decade, NASA said Thursday.
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2015-17-06
Friday, 06 Feb 2015 05:17 PM
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