Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Europa over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Europa over Jupiter's Great Red Spot
Europa over Jupiter's Great Red Spot On March 3 1979, Voyager 1 captured this view of Europa transiting over Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The image is composed of a 16-frames mosaic made of 41 individual images (16 oranges filters and 25 violets filters). I used Gimp for all the processing. Voyager 1 Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS): NASA / JPL-Caltech / Alexis Tranchandon / Solaris

Europa is slightly smaller than Earth's Moon. Its orbital distance from Jupiter is 670,900 km (414,000 miles) and is tidally locked, so the same side faces Jupiter at all times. Jupiter's Great Red Spot (GRS) is a vast cyclonic storm system about two times the size of Earth. Since 1979, the GRS has continuously shrunk, slowly changing its shape from an oval to a circle. The black blob is Io's shadow on Jupiter's clouds. This scene is quite meaningful, the size of the GRS - relative to Earth, Io's shadow giving a 3d perspective, Europa itself, the image looks like a screenshot from a science-fiction movie but it is not, it really happened 37 years ago in real life and was captured by a unmanned spacecraft racing through the solar system, and still racing.

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