Explanation: Our solar system’s ruling giant planet Jupiter and 3 of its 4 large Galilean moons are captured in this single Hubble snapshot from January 24. Crossing in front of Jupiter’s banded cloud tops Europa, Callisto, and Io are framed from lower left to upper right in a rare triple-moon conjunction. Distinguishable by colors alone icy Europa is almost white, Callisto’s ancient cratered surface looks dark brown, and volcanic Io appears yellowish. The transiting moons and moon shadows can be identified by sliding your cursor over the image, or following this link. Remarkably, two small, inner Jovian moons, Amalthea and Thebe, along with their shadows, can also be found in the sharp Hubble view. The Galilean moons have diameters of 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers or so, comparable in size to Earth’s moon. But odd-shaped Amalthea and Thebe are only about 260 and 100 kilometers across respectively.
The Register often provides a good laugh with its humorous science reporting titles (often dripping in innuendo). This week, the title for a story about the new image from the Hubble Telescope is golden: “Hubble ‘scope snaps ENORMO SPACE ERECTION: Pillars of Creation 20 years on.” Despite the humorous title, the article contains lots of info on the new Hubble image, as well as a number of good quotes!
Kudos to The Register for keeping science writing interesting, and for its titillating titles! More info on the Hubble image is here at NASA’s webpage.
(image credit: NASA and ESA).
Alexander Gerst’s Earth timelapses
Watch Earth roll by through the perspective of ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in this six-minute timelapse video from space. Combining 12 500 images taken by Alexander during his six-month Blue Dot mission on the International Space Station this Ultra High Definition video shows the best our beautiful planet has to offer.
If you aren’t following Reid Wiseman on twitter, you should be. If you aren’t on twitter, join just to see these amazing pictures! @astro_reid