View larger. | This may not be the clearest image of Jupiter you’ve ever seen. Spacecraft images are clearer. But it is the clearest image taken from Earth that we’ve ever seen. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s from the Hubble Space Telescope. The little moon to the left is Europa. Image via NASA, ESA, STScI, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), and the OPAL team.
The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of Jupiter on August 25, 2020, from a distance of 406 million miles (650 million km) from Earth. That wasn’t Jupiter’s closest distance to us this year. That closest distance had come on July 15, a couple of days after Earth swept between Jupiter and the sun, as we do once each year. Still, in August, Jupiter and Earth were still relatively close in August, and its nearness must have been a factor in the clarity of this image, which clearly shows Jupter’s icy moon Europa (6th-closest of the 79 known moons) as well as some famous storms in Jupiter’s dense atmosphere.
There are lots of cool things to notice in this image.
First, notice Europa to the left of the planet. It’s ...