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April 17, 2011

Europa Helps Astronomers Penetrate Jupiter’s Lost Belt

This article explores the mysterious area that is Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt. Normally, this area would be explored using thermal IR senses that break through cloud cover. The goal of the observation was to observe Jupiter and its numerous gaseous layers, all with various heat and reflectivity levels. But because Jupiter is so bright, it is nearly impossible to use the typical means of observation (infrared imaging). Astronomers needed something that was much brighter and was also close to Jupiter in the sky. On November 30, 2010, the moon Europa was positioned exactly right to serve in that purpose. This method is extremely impressive, as the process was very difficult and timing had to be precise.
The full article can be found at: http://www.keckobservatory.org/news/europa_helps_astronomers_penetrate_jupiters_lost_belt/

Posted by ecfo at April 17, 2011 01:36 PM

Comments

It seems as though Europa comes through again. This moon is pretty awesome..

Also, I'm surprised that we were never able to view this region before. Now that it's been mentioned, this makes sense, but it's certainly not common sense. This kind of demonstrates how little we actually know.

Posted by: strodel at April 19, 2011 12:14 AM

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