Jovian Tidbits While-U-Wait

Jupiter and stars reflected in a puddle in my driveway. I know, it’s time to patch it with some fresh gravel. Credit: Bob King

While we wait for the first photos from Juno to arrive after its close flyover of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot last night, I wanted to share a couple photos of the planet taken the past few nights. One night, I came back from walking my dog, Sammy, and caught the planet’s reflection in a puddle. Jupiter come to Earth! I set up a camera for a few 30-second exposures.

This view of Jupiter taken with a 200mm lens closely resembles how the planet and its four Galilean moons look in a pair of binoculars. From left to right: Callisto, Ganymede, Io, Jupiter and Europa. That’s a cloud at bottom. Credit: Bob King

The other photo shows how little magnification is needed to bring Jupiter’s four brightest moons — Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto — into view. It was taken with a 200mm lens on a motorized mount with an exposures of 8 seconds. Tonight, for most of the Americas, three of Jupiter’s moons will show in binoculars or a small telescope. Little Io will be covered by the planet starting at 9:14 p.m. (Central time) and reappear out of eclipse at 12:43 a.m. tomorrow morning, so most of us will miss it. Have a look!

Jupiter’s moons tonight. Stellarium