NASA’s Juno mission recently went around Jupiter and released a set of raw images of the giant gaseous planet and its moon Io which cast an eclipse on it. The images showed a small but perfect dark shadow over Jupiter. The black spot looked so prominent that one might mistake it to be some sort of a massive hole.
The Juno mission made its close flyby sometime last week around September 11. This was Juno’s 22nd close flyby of the giant planet. During this period, the positioning of Io was perfect as it slipped in between the Sun and Jupiter during the process of its orbit.
The image was shared on Twitter by Kevin Gill, a software engineer and data scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) September 16, 2019
According to a report by Space.com, Jupiter’s Io moon takes 1.77 days to orbit the giant planet. Due to the presence of massive gravity in Jupiter, a lot of heat is generated on the moon, making it the most volcanic in the solar system. Among the four giant moons of Jupiter, Io orbits the closest to the giant planet, this allows it to cast a prominent dark shadow over Jupiter.
NASA’s Juno mission has been orbiting Jupiter for over three years and makes a close flyby every 53 days. It is designed to study the atmosphere and the interior of the giant planet.
Juno also has a camera which clicks raw images that are uploaded online and then the image processors of the space agency turn them into beautiful and informative photographs.