Crescents Slice the Darkness in "Farewell Jupiter" Picture by Cassini
May 31, 2001
Guy Webster, JPL, (818) 354-6278
Lori Stiles, University of Arizona, (520) 626-4402
Jupiter shines as a crescent, with a much smaller crescent moon Io by
its side, in a color picture taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft looking
back at the Jupiter after flying past it five months ago.
That "farewell, Jupiter" image plus a color movie clip of glowing features
on Io during an eclipse are now available online from NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., at
and from the Cassini Imaging Science team at the University of Arizona,
The eclipse movie is being presented at meetings of the American
Geophysical Union in Boston today. In the sequence of images used to
create it, Cassini caught Io's auroras in motion and detected emissions at
previously unknown wavelengths. Red glows from oxygen atoms and blue glows
from sulfur dioxide molecules in the images, along with thermal glows from
hot lava at several active volcanoes.
Cassini passed its closest to Jupiter on Dec. 30, 2000, gaining a
gravitational boost for reaching its main destination, Saturn, in 2004.
More information about joint studies of Jupiter by Cassini and NASA's
Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter for more than five
years, is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jupiterflyby .
Additional information about Cassini-Huygens is online at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.
The Cassini spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at Saturn in July 2004 to
begin a four-year exploration of the ringed planet and its moons. The
Cassini mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
Calif., for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.