Picture of the Day: Jupiter’s Moon Io Casts a Shadow as It Transits Jupiter
[20 April 1999] The three snapshots of the volcanic moon rounding Jupiter were taken over a 1.8-hour time span. Io is roughly the size of Earth’s moon but 2,000 times farther away. In two of the images, Io appears to be skimming Jupiter’s cloud tops, but it’s actually 310,000 miles (500,000 kilometers) away. Io zips around Jupiter in 1.8 days, whereas the moon circles Earth every 28 days.
The conspicuous black spot on Jupiter is Io’s shadow and is about the size of the moon itself (2,262 miles or 3,640 kilometers across). This shadow sails across the face of Jupiter at 38,000 mph (17 kilometers per second). The smallest details visible on Io and Jupiter measure 93 miles (150 kilometers) across, or about the size of Connecticut. [source]