Emily LakdawallaMar 13, 2012

Pretty Picture: A snapshot of Voyager 1's departure from Jupiter

In this week's Snapshots from Space video (which will be posted before too long by Mat -- stay tuned!), I talk about the Voyager 1 images of Jupiter -- how many there are (tens of thousands), and what a challenge they represent for image processors. But, I promise, the effort is worth it. Here's just one example: it's a color, crescent view of Jupiter, taken by Voyager 1 as it departed.

Jupiter's crescent
Jupiter's crescent Voyager 1 looked back toward Jupiter on March 7, 1979 to take the images for this color view of its shrinking crescent.Image: NASA / JPL / color composite by Emily Lakdawalla

I checked JPL's website and saw no crescent Jupiter image posted there, even though Voyager 1 snapped thousands as it left the Jupiter system. In fact, both Voyagers took lots of crescent photos of all of the planets and large moons that they visited, and not a lot of them have ever entered the public domain. Of course, like I said, these pictures do require a fair amount of work. To see what I had to start with, check out the orange, green, and violet-filter photos that I used to make this composite. I had to align them, paint out the reseau marks, cope with the vignetting and dark current, and fiddle in a completely nonscientific way with the color to make it look right to me. All of which should tell you that this image is strictly for illustration purposes! Attempt no science here!

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