Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jovian Dual-Shadow Transit of October 31, 2011

Remarkable was the dual-shadow transit on October 24. But, there is yet another and unfortunately the final dual-shadow transit of Jupiter in 2011. October 31 will bring us one more "astronomical morsel" and this one will be presumably about the same as the last: Io will transit just beneath the waistline of Jupiter, and Ganymede at the exact bottom of the king of the planets. Both of the shadows will be cast on the planet for only sixteen minutes, from 18:10 to 18:26 UT. This will be during the day for Washington DC, at approximately 1:10 to 1:26 EDT. Although this is rather sad, the eastern world will be able to witness the last Jovian dual-transit for the great year of 2011. A comprehensive photo shoot (courtesy of The Transits Page) is shown at the end of this article. Below is a picture of the Jovian moons at 00:00 UT on October 31, 2011, or at 8:00 October 30, for us here in EDT.

Image Credit: Transits Page; Text entered by AstronomicalEventsCalendar

Callisto beautifully rests on top of the planet, as it's orbit appears to be above the planet, we must remember that these orbits are three dimensional - and that since Jupiter is titled towards us, it looks like Callisto orbits above. Sense Perception! Concerning the transit, you can see Io and Ganymede - Ganymede will swoop down and catch up to Io (they are not actually that far apart in the two-dimension scale, becasue of their orbits, but they appear to be far apart). The dual-transit itself will start at 17:46 UT and end at 18:22 UT, lasting only 36 minutes. If you can remember, this is very shorter than the October 24 transit.The next picture below concerns itself right before the transit - at 16:00 UT. Ganymede and Io are now very noticeable together.

Image Credit: The Transits Page; Text entered by AstronomicalEventsCalendar

If you're wondering what a Jovian dual-sahdow transit is? Look no further - Here, we can clarify the terms of dual-shadow transit, and dual-transit, becasue both can happen at the same time - the October 24 and 31 transits are great examples of these (among others). A dual-shadow transit occurs when two shadows of moons travel across the surface of Jupiter together (and yes this can also happen on any other planet with two or more moons, etc.), and then, when the two moons travel together, it is called a dual-transit. (The difference is just either the shadow or moon), but both have to cross Jupiter (or any other planet, etc.) at the same time. You can read more about Jovian transits in our last transit: October 24.

You can view images at the Jovian Dual-Transits Emporium, run by me, of course. 

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