Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

Today’s astronomy picture is a video.

Juno Flyby of Ganymede and Jupiter

Video Credit: Images: NASAJPL-CaltechSWRIMSSS;
Animation: Koji KuramuraGerald Eichstädt, Mike Stetson; Music: VangelisExplanation: What would it be like to fly over the largest moon in the Solar System? In June, the robotic Juno spacecraft flew past Jupiter‘s huge moon Ganymede and took images that have been digitally constructed into a detailed flyby. As the featured video begins, Juno swoops over the two-toned surface of the 2,000-km wide moon, revealing an icy alien landscape filled with grooves and craters. The grooves are likely caused by shifting surface plates, while the craters are caused by violent impacts. Continuing on in its orbit, Juno then performed its 34th close pass over Jupiter’s clouds. The digitally-constructed video shows numerous swirling clouds in the north, colorful planet-circling zones and bands across the middle — featuring several white-oval clouds from the String of Pearls, and finally more swirling clouds in the south. Next September, Juno is scheduled to make a close pass over another of Jupiter’s large moons: Europa.

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