Crescents Slice the Darkness in "Farewell Jupiter" Picture by Cassini
31 May 2001
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
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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, Tucson, at
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.
Cassini is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini and Galileo missions for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.