Ganymede plays peek-a-boo with Jupiter!

December 19th, 2008 - 3:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): NASAs Hubble Space Telescope has caught Jupiter’’s moon Ganymede playing a game of peek-a-boo with the gaseous giant, as it can be seen ducking behind Jupiter, only to appear later.

Composed of rock and ice, Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is even larger than the planet Mercury. But, Ganymede looks like a dirty snowball next to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

Ganymede completes an orbit around Jupiter every seven days.

Because Ganymedes orbit is tilted nearly edge-on to Earth, it routinely can be seen passing in front of and disappearing behind its giant host, only to reemerge later.

Jupiter is so big that only part of its Southern Hemisphere can be seen in this image.

Hubbles view is so sharp that astronomers can see features on Ganymedes surface, most notably the white impact crater, Tros, and its system of rays, bright streaks of material blasted from the crater.

Tros and its ray system are roughly the width of the state of Arizona.

The image also shows Jupiters Great Red Spot, the large eye-shaped feature at upper left. A storm the size of two Earths, the Great Red Spot has been raging for more than 300 years.

Hubbles sharp view of the gas giant planet also reveals the texture of the clouds in the Jovian atmosphere as well as various other storms and vortices.

Astronomers use these images to study Jupiters upper atmosphere.

As Ganymede passes behind the giant planet, it reflects sunlight, which then passes through Jupiters atmosphere.

Imprinted on that light is information about the gas giants atmosphere, which yields clues about the properties of Jupiters high-altitude haze above the cloud tops. (ANI)

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