The biggest planet of our solar system was last’s week attraction for space experts when three moons shadowed Jupiter at the same time in a rare celestial event. The event involved three of the immense planet’s four greatest satellites- Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Out of these, Io, Europa and Callisto cast their shadows on Jupiter concomitantly early Saturday morning, beginning with Callisto placing itself between the Sun and Jupiter. Callisto began shadowing Jupiter at about 3:11 AM GMT and Io one and a half hours later.
At 6:27 AM, Europa also started shadowing the greatest plant of our Solar System. At a certain point, Callisto additionally obscured sister moon Io for almost nineteen minutes. During this time span space experts could spot one dark dot against the bright surface of Jupiter.
Callisto is about same size as Mercury but only around a third of the mass. It is the most peripheral of Jupiter’s four expansive Galilean satellites. It orbits rather far from Jupiter compared to the other moons. It is placed 1,880,000 kilometers from the planet, approximately 26 times the span of the planet itself. While this is not something abnormal — our Moon orbits at practically 60 times Earth’s sweep — the interesting detail is Callisto’s detachment from its neighboring moons. Callisto’s nearest neighbor is Ganymede, which orbits 800,000 kilometers closer to Jupiter.
The three moons jointly cast their shadows on Jupiter’s surface for 25 minutes, more ore less. The uncommon triple-moon galactic event ended when the quick moving Io passed the planet.
The special event was streamed live by Brazilian space experts on YouTube and on the official internet page of the California-located Griffith Observatory.
A part of the observers contended that the event might be a warning of an upcoming apocalyptical event or even the end of the world as we know it, a crucial shift in the dynamics of cosmic bodies.
Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are otherwise called the Galilean moons because they were first spotted by Galileo in the seventeenth century. Jupiter has no less than 63 moons, of all shapes and sizes. Most of them are so little it would be impossible to spot them with an average telescope.
Jupiter’s neighborhood, also known as the Jovian system is soon to be revisited by NASA spacecrafts. In 2016, NASA’s Juno space apparatus will reach Jupiter and begin to send pictures of the planet’s poles. Later, ESA’s Juice, short for Jupiter Icy moons Explorer, scheduled for dispatch in 2022, will visit the system aiming to obtain a better insight into the Goliath vaporous planet and its surroundings, particularly the fascinating moons Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.
Image Source: Space.com