Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
Not only is this one of my favorite images of the solar system but the facts surrounding it make is a pretty appropriate post for the day. First of all it was taken today (March 2) back in 2007. Secondly, it was taken by New Horizons as it made its Jupiter flyby.
If you haven’t guessed by now this is an image of two of the moons of Jupiter, Io and Europa. Or as I call them Yin and Yang….you know, fire and ice. In this mage Io is the more distant of the two at a range of 4.6 million km (2.8 million mi.) while crescent Europa is closer at a range of 3.8 million km (2.4 million mi.). This is also an example of what’s called line of sight imagery. Though the two seem close they are still separated by 790,000 km (490,000 mi.).
The beautiful 300 km (190 mi.) high false color volcanic plume coming from Io is generated by the volcano Tvashtar. Go down slightly and to the left and the smaller volcano Amirani becomes apparent. Go even further left to just about the 9 o’clock position and volcano Prometheus can be seen.
I hope you guys enjoy this image and although there won’t be this much light reflection out there by Pluto, this mission has some great things in store for us through 2015.
JPL Photojournal page for this image: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA10103