A picture posted to social media showing a bright celestial body in the sky surrounded by four smaller lights captured viewers’ imaginations in 2020, prompting some to wonder whether the photograph was real.
Earth, Jupiter, Europa, Callisto, Ganymede, and Io. (Not in order.) pic.twitter.com/9TvKkDZuIn
— Riding with Robots (@ridingrobots) July 7, 2020
It is real. The picture was taken by Bill Dunford, a writer and social media specialist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
As Dunford explained to people fascinated by the picture, he took the shot in Brighton, Utah, on July 7, 2020, with two seconds of exposure and a zoom lens, noting, “You can see Jupiter’s moons like this yourself with a pair of binoculars! (Keep in mind the moons move & might not be in these same positions when you look.)”
Dunford said on Twitter that he had taken a similar photograph in 2019, near Salt Lake City, which was posted to NASA’s website.