Watch the video above: The shadows of three of Jupiter’s moons cross the planet.
TORONTO – NASA and the European Space Agency have released new images of a rare event: the shadows of three of Jupiter’s moons crossing the enormous planet.
The event — called a triple shadow transit — occurred on Jan. 24.
Jupiter has more than 60 known moons, with four large ones — Ganymede, Io, Callisto and Europa.
Every year or so, everything aligns so that several of the large moons and their shadows cross Jupiter. The triple shadow transit is so called because three shadows can be seen on Jupiter at once.
The whole event took about 42 minutes. As it comes to an end, you can see Europa — a moon that holds promise of life — come into frame.
But what’s also amazing is the level of detail in the colour images: each moon has its own distinct colour.
The moons of Jupiter are in different positions every day as they dance around the planet. Seeing them for yourself is fairly easy — you just need to know where to look and a pair of binoculars.
Gallery: The dance of Jupiter’s moons from Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 at 9 p.m. EST.
Jupiter, which can be found rising in the east around 7:30 p.m., isn’t too difficult to find: it is the brightest thing in sky.