Astronomy Picture of the Day

Moons and Jupiter
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand

Explanation: On April 10, a Full Moon and Jupiter shared this telephoto field of view. Both were near opposition, opposite the Sun in Earth’s night sky. Captured when a passing cloud bank dimmmed the bright moonlight slightly, the single exposure reveals the familiar face of our fair planet’s own large natural satellite, along with a line up of the ruling gas giant’s four Galilean moons. Labeled top to bottom, the tiny pinpricks of light above bright Jupiter are Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io. Closer and brighter, our own natural satellite appears to loom large. But Callisto, Ganymede, and Io are physically larger than Earth’s Moon, while water world Europa is only slightly smaller. In fact, of the Solar System’s six largest planetary satellites, only Saturn’s moon Titan is missing from the scene.

Tomorrow’s picture: shadowrise

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