Jupiter and Io

Jupiter and Io. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Goddard Space Flight Center

A beautiful “new” photo showing Jupiter and one of its moons, Io, has been making the rounds in cyberspace this week. The photo, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2007 as it passed Jupiter on its way to Pluto, is a montage of two separate images combined to show this view (with Io being much closer to the spacecraft). The Jupiter image is in infrared to bring out details in the turbulent atmosphere, while the Io image, taken about a day later, is in regular visible light.

The bluish area on the edge of Io is a huge plume from one of its many active volcanoes (Io is the most volcanically active known place in the solar system).

So while the photo may not actually be all that new, it is still an inspiring postcard sent from the Jovian realm…

Paul Scott Anderson is a freelance space writer with a life-long passion for space exploration and astronomy. He started his blog The Meridiani Journal in 2005, which is a chronicle of planetary exploration. He also publishes The Exoplanet Report e-paper. In 2011, he started writing about space on a freelance basis, and now also currently write for AmericaSpace and Examiner.com. He has also written for Universe Today and SpaceFlight Insider, has been published in The Mars Quarterly and has done supplementary writing for the well-known iOS app Exoplanet for iPhone and iPad.