“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” –Galileo Galilei
Ever since the time of Galileo, Jupiter has been an amazing sight for skywatchers. With its four large moons, even the smallest of amateur telescopes provide amazing sights.
In fact, if you watch Jupiter’s four large Moons over the span of a few hours, you’re likely to discover the same exact thing that Galileo did.
And we’ve actually captured some remarkable shots of Jupiter’s Galilean satellites.
Check out this shot, by Kevin Quinn, of two of Jupiter’s Moons, Ganymede and Europa, both casting their shadow on the planet at the same time: a double eclipse.
Of course, if you had the Hubble space telescope, you can pretty much do whatever you want. Including looking at Jupiter at just the right time…
…to see a triple eclipse! That’s three of Jupiter’s moons’ shadows falling on the planet at the same time! You have to really look at juuuuust the right time to make this happen, because the orbits don’t often line up like that.
But I want more. What do I want? Hubble, my birthday is many months off, but let me tell you what I really want. I want a photo of Jupiter’s moons lined up so perfectly that we don’t just get a double eclipse, but that one of Jupiter’s moons has its shadow fall on an inner moon of Jupiter!
Does this happen? Of course it does; Jupiter’s moons orbit at an incline to Jupiter, and it’s only a matter of time before they line up correctly! In fact, I may have scavenged an image where it happened: take a look!
But you know what I really want: I want Hubble to capture it! Why?
Because with Hubble’s resolution, we could actually see one moon’s shadow on another moon!
And this is something that really happens, and we actually have the technology to image it today! Here’s hoping!