Posts Tagged ‘Ganymede’

Eclipse from another world – Jupiter

6 July, 2009

You’ve seen what an eclipse, or transit, of the Sun looks like from Mars. Now here’s Jupiter.

Of the 63 natural satellites orbiting the largest planet in the solar system, five are capable of occulting the Sun. That is, they appear visually larger than the Sun.

They are Amalthea, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, the latter four being Jupiter’s four largest moons, also called Galilean moons since they were discovered by Galileo Galilei.

The rest are too small or too distant and transit the Sun.

Furthermore, since Jupiter is so large and there are five satellites capable of occulting the Sun, eclipses of the Sun from Jupiter are not particularly rare (unlike Earth!).

Shown in the computer generated picture below are the moons Io and Europa casting simultaneous shadows on the surface of Jupiter.

Author: Richard B