From its unique polar orbital perspective NASA’s Juno probe took this photo of Io’s shadow on the planet’s cloud tops on Sept. 12, 2019 from a distance of just 4,970 miles (8,000 km). From the perspective of someone inside the shadow — say in an orbiting spaceship — the sun would be totally eclipsed. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Wait, is that black hole devouring Jupiter? No worries. It’s the shadow cast by the moon Io. Io is one of Jupiter’s four largest satellites with a diameter of 2,264 miles (3,644 km), only a hundred miles bigger than our own moon. What makes the photo so striking is the perspective. NASA’s Juno spacecraft took the photos up from up close and at a unique, inclined angle on Sept. 12.
Juno makes big, long loops around Jupiter. When closest to the planet it dashes over the polar regions, taking measurements and photographs that help astronomers learn about polar storms, the planet’s interior and magnetic field. The color lobes represent dangerous regions of radiation about Jupiter. Juno’s unique orbit allows it to skirt or enter and exit the “danger zones” quickly. NASA
Juno orbits Jupiter every 53 days on an orbit that takes it over the ...