Luna, Jupiter and Two Galilean Moons

April 25, 2004


Provided by: Thomas Holmgren
Summary authors & editors: Thomas Holmgren

Imagine what Galilei Galileo must have felt when he first turned his primitive telescope to Jupiter and discovered moons orbiting it. It's pretty certain that there wasn't a full Moon that particular night --at least not a full moon close to Jupiter. However, the photo above was taken near the time of the full Moon (in early April 2004). It shows not only our huge, bright Moon but Jupiter and two of its moons, by Jove! Callisto is to the upper right of Jupiter and Ganymede is to Jupiter's lower left.

I had dreamed about this picture for a while, our moon and the Galilean moons on the same photo, and I finally got a chance to capture such a vision during the relatively close encounter between Luna and Jupiter earlier this month. Although a look through binoculars wasn't very encouraging (too bright to see any of Jupiter's moons), when I looked at the pictures I was stunned -- two of the Galilean moons were clearly visible without any enhancements or digital editing magic.

Photo Details: 1 sec exposure, f. 3.2, approx 550 mm focal length with a Fuji S5000.

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