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Monday January 24th 2011

Images of Jupiter

Jupiter, the most massive planet in our solar system — with dozens of moons and an enormous magnetic field — forms a kind of miniature solar system. Jupiter does resemble a star in composition, but it did not grow big enough to ignite. The planet’s swirling cloud stripes are punctuated by massive storms such as the Great Red Spot, which has raged for hundreds of years. The following images were taken by the Cassini probe on the way to Saturn.

Jupiter Swirls Date: 5 Mar 1979 This close-up of swirling clouds around Jupiter's Great Red Spot was taken by Voyager 1. It was assembled from three black and white negatives. Credit: NASA/JPL

These color maps of Jupiter were constructed from images taken by the narrow-angle camera onboard NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11 and 12, 2000, as the spacecraft neared Jupiter during its flyby of the giant planet. Cassini was on its way to Saturn. They are the most detailed global color maps of Jupiter ever produced. The smallest visible features are about 120 kilometers (75 miles) across.

North Polar: Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

South Pole: Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Jupiter Globe: Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This true-color simulated view of Jupiter is composed of four images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. These images were combined and the cylindrical map projected onto a globe in order to illustrate what Jupiter would look like if the cameras used to image this planet had a field-of-view large enough to capture the entire planet. The resolution is about 144 kilometers (89 miles) per pixel. Jupiter’s moon Europa is casting the shadow on the planet.

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