NASA’s Juno mission has once again stunned us with jaw-dropping images of Jupiter and its moon, Ganymede. Scientists are impressed by an image of Jupiter in its crescent phase. The photo was taken when NASA’s Juno spacecraft approached the giant planet during a regular close pass. Jupiter’s crescent shape can never be captured by telescopes on Earth’s surface. The blog post explained why this is so. She pointed out that this image of Jupiter in crescent phase, unlike the Moon or Venus, was difficult to observe from Earth, even using a telescope.
The message added that Jupiter’s orbit was outside Earth’s, so an observer on Earth can only see the side of Jupiter that is illuminated by the Sun. Thus, the planet appears to be full at all times.
This backlit view of Juno’s crescent Jupiter was taken using raw data from the JunoCam instrument. Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created the image from seven images that were taken during Juno’s 39th close pass by Jupiter on January 12, 2022. The website said, “If you could accompany the Juno spacecraft from NASA as it approaches Jupiter during one of its regular close passes by the giant planet, you’d be treated to a striking sight similar to this one.
Another image shared on the NASA website was of the complex surface of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Ganymede, the largest moon in our solar system, is known for its own magnetic field.
A Space.com report indicates that the image of Ganymede was captured in June 2021 during a close pass. Juno flew only 1,046 kilometers above the surface of Ganymede when it took this photo. The color-enhanced image was created by citizen scientist Thomas Thomopoulos.
The image is of the large Kittu crater. The crater is nearly 9 miles (15 kilometers) across and is surrounded by darker material. Scientists believe the material was ejected when a small asteroid crashed into the moon’s surface.
The NASA website further stated that most Ganymede craters had bright rays extending from the impact scar, while about 1% contained dark rays.
Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system. It is even larger than the planet Mercury.