Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2022 July 17
Europa and Jupiter from Voyager 1
Image Credit: NASA, Voyager 1, JPL, Caltech; Processing & License: Alexis Tranchandon / Solaris
Explanation: What are those spots on Jupiter? 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 357 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. Forty-five years ago this August, Voyager 1 launched from Earth and started one of the greatest explorations of the Solar System ever.
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