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Spooky & # 39; Black Hole & # 39; Jupiter is just a big shadow



Jupiter, as seen by Juno on September 12, 2019. The big black dot is a shadow cast by Jupiter Io's moon.
Image : NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Kevin M. Gill

NASA's Juneau spacecraft recently captured this sinister view of Jupiter showing massive black petal Above the thundering clouds of the gas giant . It seems scary, but there is a perfectly reasonable explanation: It is a shadow of cast by the extremely volcanic moon of Jupiter, Io.

Juno captured this stunning series of images on September 12 while participating in his 22nd Perih or close encounter with Jupiter. The NASA spacecraft, which arrived in the Jovian system in July 2017, is in a highly elliptical polar orbit, bringing it closer to the clouds of the gas giant and then re-entering deeper space.

Io's shadow appears to be close to Jupiter's horizon.
Image : NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Bjorn Jonson

Juno was about 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) from the surface when his JunoCam snapped those images, and the probe was already is on a trajectory that will take it over 8 million kilometers from the gas giant before it returns to its 23rd perih, according to ] to the universe today. Juno is currently scheduled to complete about a dozen more feathers before the mission is completed in July 2021. but the mission may be expanded into the 2020s – fingers tightly crossed for this because images like these and others make our world go round.

Incomplete photo (hence missing the huge slice above right) of Jupiter showing the eclipse. The colors were adjusted to highlight the features.
Image : NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Tanya Oleksuk

It's about as close to a total solar eclipse as we will ever see on Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, to be honest, this is more of an annular eclipse, because Io's shadow is not even close to to cover the entire surface of Jupiter. To be even fairer, we probably shouldn't even call this celestial event an eclipse – it's rather a transit, similar to the way extrasolar planets travel through their host stars, allowing astronomers to detect them from our Earth perspective,

Illustration showing the size of Io (left) compared to Jupiter (right).
Illustration : ThePlanets .org

Still, the shadow is pretty big, all things considered; Yo is only slightly larger than the Earth's moon. The large black circle is due to an optical effect whereby the total size of the object's shadow, semi-color increases with distance from the light source, in this case the sun. Something like this happens on Earth during solar eclipses – an effect that was beautifully captured from space in 2016.

Yo is the fourth largest moon in the solar system and the innermost part of the four Jupiter's Galilean moons. This volcanic moon is quite close to Jupiter, and it takes only 42.5 hours to complete orbit.

In fact, in addition to being approximately the size of the Earth's moon, Io is also at a similar distance to Jupiter – a closeness that contributes to its hyperactive geology . The huge gravitational influence of the gas giant creates a heat rush on the moon. Subsequently, Yo is the most volcanic object in the solar system, involving hundreds of volcanoes that produce jets 500 kilometers above its surface.

As the last amusing fact, Io's largest volcano, Loki, is projected to erupt at any moment so there is potentially more news about this ominous, molten moon coming in the next few days.


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