Mercury and Jupiter

April 17, 2011


Photographer:  Greg Parker
Summary Author:  Greg Parker; Jim Foster

The photo above shows Mercury and Jupiter; the largest and smallest planets in our solar system after Pluto’s inexplicable expulsion a few years back. Here, saffron colored Jupiter is beneath pinkish Mercury, which seems unbefitting to the King of the Planets. Jupiter’s largest Moon, Ganymede, is even bigger than puny Mercury, and while numerous moons dote on Jupiter, Mercury has none. Although Jupiter has mass on its side, it’s essentially a big gas bag. However, Mercury is about as solid as they come – only Earth is more dense. Moreover, what it lacks in mass, it makes up with in speed; circling the Sun nearly 47 times when sluggish Jupiter is just finishing up a single revolution. The MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around Mercury and taking some amazing close up images. Photo taken at the New Forrest Observatory near Southampton, U.K. just after sunset on March 18, 2011. Never look with telescopes or binoculars at any planet in the direction of the Sun until the Sun is below the horizon!

Photo Details: Camera Maker: Canon; Camera Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark II; Focal Length: 100.0mm; Aperture: f/18.0; Exposure Time: manual 3.000 s; ISO equiv: 400; Exposure Bias: none; White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: No (enforced); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.