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Space Science

Triple Eclipse on Jupiter 13

An anonymous reader writes "The Hubble Space Telescope captured a stunning image of a rare triple eclipse. Three of Jupiter's three big moons--Io, Ganymede and Callisto--eclipsed large portions of face of the giant planet. Such an event happens about once a decade."
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Triple Eclipse on Jupiter

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  • by DLWormwood ( 154934 ) <wormwood&me,com> on Thursday November 04, 2004 @11:11AM (#10723332) Homepage
    Some the language in the article makes the planet sound like an endangered speices recently discovered. I can see the journal article now...

    Obscurus Celestialis

    "A giant creature prone to residing in dark, cold habitats, the rare Five-Spotted Jupiter is identifiable in the wild by its obvious bright stripes that take on a pastel hue under infrared light. Known to attract small creatures (like the Pizza Faced Io) that fly around it, as well as moving in large circles at very high speed, the identifing features of Celestialis can only be easily seen using a high-speed camera taking rapid fire exposures..."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So it has begun. Soon the spots will engulf the entire planet and turn it into Lucifer. Evacuate the Leonov and the Discovery.
  • Finally, an astronomy story with an actual picture instead of 1000 words explaining and describing it.
  • A minor nit ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @12:05PM (#10724313) Homepage
    I would have added "when viewed from Earth" to the "rare triple eclipse ... happens about once a decade" commentary since with planetary spacecraft, we might see these eclipse pictures pop up more frequently.

    The article also says "They then combined the images into one single picture to show more details of the planet and its moons" ... maybe I should send 'em my Hulk Lunar Eclipse Pictures [komar.org] since it would be cute to combine the Big Green Guy with the Big Gas Giant.

    • Re:A minor nit ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 04, 2004 @12:19PM (#10724511)
      These eclipses on Jupiter are the same as our lunar eclipses, which are visible to anyone, anywhere that can see the moon at the time they happen. Since we on Earth are so far from Jupiter, we see the entire sunlit side of Jupiter, so we see all the eclipses. Only a spacecraft close to Jupiter (or way off on some angle to it) would be unable to see the whole sunlit side. (I know that orbital paralax and our finite distance alter this a little, but not by much).
      • Re:A minor nit ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) on Thursday November 04, 2004 @01:21PM (#10725372) Homepage
        Yep - that's why I said "minor" nit ... I kinda wonder what the "worst case" situation would be - i.e. Earth 90 degrees outa "rotation sync" with Jupiter (other affects such as orbital plane and non-"circleness" of the orbit are probably very minor) would result in how much of the (true) sunlit side not visible from Earth - here's a hacked up ASCII diagram of what I'm trying to say - not to scale! ;-)

        EARTH (90 degree on "side" of the Sun)



        SUN_____________________________________JUPITER

        • Ok, I'll bite and try my rusty math skills.
          earth-sun distance = 1 AU
          min jupiter-sun distance = ~5 AU

          e
          1|
          s---------j
          5

          So we see:

          e
          /
          j
          /

          while what's lit is:

          |
          s j
          |

          The portion we can't see would be
          just angle j in the first diagram.
          Some simple trig gives us:

          sin j = 1/sqrt(26)

          Assuming all my math is right, j = 12 degrees. So worst case we can't see 12 degrees of Jupiters lit surface. What percentage of the surface that is is left as an excersize to
  • smiley (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wonder if eclipses were viewed from the surface of Jupiter, would they make the Sun look like a one big smiley face? :o
  • What was that about a triple eclipse every 5000 years in The Fifth Element?
  • Large portions? (Score:2, Informative)

    -eclipsed large portions of face of the giant planet

    Did anyone look at the pictures before they wrote this? "teeny-weeny portions of the face of the giant planet" might be more appropriate. The red spot was many times larger than the eclipse shadow.

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