Credit & Copyright: Wes HigginsExplanation: It's no wonder Jupiter is a favorite target for even modest earthbound telescopes. The most massive planet in the solar system with four of the largest moons also boasts the famous Great Red Spot, a giant hurricane-like storm system over three hundred years old. Recorded on December 15, 2002 between 7:19 and 8:40 UT, over a thousand digital images were processed and stacked to create this spectacular 21 frame animation of the Jovian system. South is up and as the Great Red Spot tracks across the face of Jupiter, innermost Galilean moon Io emerges from the planet's shadow at the far right. Io occults (passes in front of) the edge of the more sedately orbiting Ganymede with Io's shadow moving quickly across the gas giant's cloud tops, just below the Red Spot. While the moon Callisto is outside the field of view, its large, dark shadow is also visible crossing the Jovian disk at the upper left. Viewed from Earth, the orbits of the Galilean moons presently lie nearly edge-on, offering many chances to observe similar dances of Jupiter's moons.
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: Jupiter - Galilean Moon - Great Red Spot
Publications with words: Jupiter - Galilean Moon - Great Red Spot
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