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A jovian eclipse from Callisto - Part 1 - Space Art Illustration

A jovian eclipse from Callisto - Part 1

Callisto is the most distant of Jupiter's four large satellites. It is smaller than Ganymede, but larger than Io and Europa. Like Europa, Callisto may harbor an ocean of liquid water beneath a crust of ice and rock. Callisto's crust is thought to be about 100 miles thick, so it is unlikely that this ocean is host to any life forms, if indeed it does exist.

In this image we are looking at Jupiter from a position about 5 from Callisto's north pole. The eclipsed Sun is just emerging from behind Jupiter's right limb. While the Sun itself cannot yet be seen (though the Sun's corona is beginning to emerge from behind Jupiter's right limb and ring), the red component of its light is refracted by Jupiter's upper atmosphere and is visible as a sanguine crescent. This light gives Callisto's otherwise brown and gray surface a ruddy complexion.

Because we are looking inward toward the center of the Solar System, three of the four inner planets are visible in this rendering. Appearing like a bright bluish star to the far left is the Earth, and to the right below the plane of Jupiter's ring is yellowish Venus, and just up and right of Venus is coppery Mercury. The faint, whitish band of light running across the sky and nearly parallel to Jupiter's equator is not the Milky way, rather it is dust in the plane of the ecliptic known to Earth-bound observers as the Zodiacal Light.


Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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