There are 53 recognized moons on Jupiter, with another 26 awaiting names.
The Juno spacecraft recently completed its 39th close flyby of Jupiter, capturing a stunning image of the planet’s southern hemisphere. A deeper examination of the photograph revealed two more celestial bodies nearby: Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa. Juno made the close approach in mid-January, but NASA only released the photograph this week. The Juno spacecraft was roughly 61,000 kilometers from Jupiter’s cloud tops at a latitude of 52 degrees south when this photograph was obtained. It delivered the raw data to a ground control station, where citizen scientist Andrea Luck generated the image.
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, has 53 recognized moons and another 26 that have yet to be named. Although the rocky moon lo is the solar system’s most volcanic world, Europa’s frozen surface conceals a huge ocean of liquid water beneath it. When Juno conducts the closest fly-by of Europa in decades in September of this year, it will get a closer and more detailed look at the intriguing moon.
According to NASA, Juno will make close passes to Io in late 2023 and early 2024. NASA has made the JunoCam raw photos available for citizen scientists like Luck to examine and turn into image products.
Io’s extreme volcanic activity, according to NASA, is the result of a tug-of-war between Jupiter’s enormous gravity and the pulls of two neighboring moons, Europa and Ganymede. Io, Jupiter’s third-largest moon and the fifth closest to the planet are somewhat larger than Earth’s Moon.
Europa, on the other hand, is the most promising candidate for a life-supporting environment. Under its frozen surface, scientists believe it has buried a salty ocean. That ocean could hold twice as much water as the rest of the world’s oceans put together.