Spotty Coverage


Behold the busy surface and inner orbit of Jupiter. There’s a lot going on. To wit:

Largest and furthest, just right of center, is the Great Red Spot — a huge storm system that has been raging on Jupiter possibly since Giovanni Cassini‘s likely notation of it 355 years ago. It is not yet known why this Great Spot is red. The spot toward the lower left is one of Jupiter’s largest moons: Europa. Images from Voyager in 1979 bolster the modern hypothesis that Europa has an underground ocean and is therefore a good place to look for extraterrestrial life. But what about the dark spot on the upper right? That is a shadow of another of Jupiter’s large moons: Io. Voyager 1 discovered Io to be so volcanic that no impact craters could be found. Sixteen frames from Voyager 1’s flyby of Jupiter in 1979 were recently reprocessed and merged to create the featured image. About 43 years ago, Voyager 1 launched from Earth and started one of the greatest explorations of the Solar System ever.

(Image: NASA, Voyager 1, JPL, Caltech; Processing & License: Alexis Tranchandon / Solaris)


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2 thoughts on “Spotty Coverage

  1. Slightly Bemused

    It is fascinating to me to think of how far out some of these probes are – Voyager 1 being 148 AU away and is in true interstellar space. Other bits and bobs (such as the last stages used to put the probes on course) are also out there, coasting away from us all the time.

    I wonder if they will pose any particular hazard to future space craft, our own or (hopefully) visiting aliens. A good friend posed the interesting question: Can you imagine the insurance claim you would fill out on Betelgeuse if you got hit by Elon Musk’s Roadster? “I was flying along, minding my own business, when this car with no lights came out of nowhere!”

    Always worth a watch: Carl Sagan Pale Blue Dot

    1. Liam Deliverance

      +1 Slightly

      An amazing image, truly inspiring, same goes for the 2 Voyager probes, 43 years and still they travel on-wards. NASA has to fight for every watt to keep them going and communication takes 19 odd hours each way. Hopefully they will have a trick or two up their sleeves on whats out there on the edge of the solar system before we finally lose them. Perhaps an image of a different blue dot.

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