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Conjunctions aren’t what I usually pay a great deal of attention, but tonight (September 10) will mark Jupiter’s closest approach to Earth for both the past, and next, fifty years. Despite my best attempts to convince people on Twitter that Jupiter will be larger than the full Moon at perigee, the gas giant won’t be any more distinguished than being the brightest star in the night sky. In celebration of this conjunction, I’ve uploaded one of my favourite photographs: Jupiter and Europa together in space.
Taken by Voyager 1 in 1979, the forced perspective makes it seem like Europa is about to fall into Jupiter’s butts then and there. The Great Red Spot dominates Jupiter’s atmosphere. To give you some idea of the scale of the scene, the Earth could have comfortably fit inside the GRS as it was when this photograph was taken.