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Hubble Spies Jupiter Eclipses

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Hubble photo of triple eclipse on Jupiter

At first glance, Jupiter looks like it has a mild case of the measles. Five spots -- one colored white, one blue, and three black -- are scattered across the upper half of the planet. Closer inspection by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveals that these spots are actually a rare alignment of three of Jupiter's moons -- Io, Ganymede, and Callisto -- across the planet's face.

In this composite image from near-infrared light, the telltale signatures of this alignment are the shadows (the three black circles) cast by the moons. Io's shadow is located just above center and to the left; Ganymede's on the planet's left edge; and Callisto's near the right edge. Only two of the moons, however, are visible in this image. Io is the white circle in the center of the image, and Ganymede is the blue circle at upper right. Callisto is out of the image and to the right.

Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and Erich Karkoschka (University of Arizona)

+ View Illustration of Alignment
+ View Animation (487 Kb MPEG)