Jupiter, Saturn, and the Outer Solar System




 This image of Europa, made at a range of only 560 kilometers by the Galileo spacecraft on December 16, 1997, is the highest resolution image ever obtained of this intriguing moon of Jupiter. The view is about 1.8 km, about a mile, wide. The resolution is 6 meters (19 ft.) per pixel. The originally gray scale image image had been tinted to suggest the true colors of the scene, although the contrast in reality may be more subdued.. 815K.





Voyager 1 was targeted to closely examine Titan, unfortunately its cloudy atmosphere didn't cooperate, but we are returning with the Cassini spacecraft to try again for a close look, at this fascinating world, this time with more sophisticated cameras, radar imaging, and a lander! This roughly true color Titan was processed to show the darker polar hoods as well as subtle color changes between the north and southern hemispheres. 32K






This reworking of the tiny Titan image made by the Huygens probe after landing on the frigid cloud shrouded moon of Saturn is based on color measurements made during the descent. 36K.





The Cassini spacecraft continues to obtain many color images of the Saturn system, thanks to the enlightened interest of the Imaging Team head Carolyn Porco in obtaining RGB filtered images. This view shows Titan near the limb of Saturn, reconstructed from RGB preliminary JPEG releases, as are the other of Saturn images on this page. 56K





The Cassini spacecraft obtained this color view of the sunlit side of the rings, processed here to emphasize the color differences. The shadow of the planet falls across the upper rings. 112K




This color view shows the shaded side of the rings, taken in RGB color. Some color variations across the boundaries between rings can be confidently seen in this increased saturation version although the colors one might actually see on location are likely more muted. 56K



This 'stretched' natural color view obtained by Cassini shows the rings going behind the blue edge of Saturn being strongly bent by refraction as they shine through the more transparent outer atmosphere of the giant planet. 543K





The atmosphere of Titan shines as sunlight passes through it, with the polar high altitude 'cloud collar' standing out over the northern polar regions. 116K





On September 15, 2006 the Cassini spacecraft was treated to a view of the Sun being eclipsed by Saturn from a distance of about 2.2 million kilometers. The rings are brightened by the 'forward scattered' sunlight. This is made from preliminary JPEG releases, with Infrared as red, clear filter with 30 percent subtraction by the IR filter as green, and violet as blue. Color variations along the edge of the planet are probably real but highly uncertain what specific colors should appear where. The official release has a different treatment of superior material. A variation including the camera 'lens flare' tinted red as the last rays of the Sun might appear, suggests the Apollo 12 photo of the Sun going behind the Earth.



 On September 22, 2001 Comet Borrelly was photographed by the Deep Space One probe. This was the climax of a long heroic struggle to keep a fragile spacecraft alive. Superimposition of two differently exposed frames. 28K.





January 2004 was a great month for planetary exploration, beginning with the close encounter with comet Wild 2 by the Stardust spacecraft. This colorized image of the nucleus was made from a distance of 500 km. The left exposure shows details in the rough surface of the comet, the right combines a lighter exposure with the darker version to show details in the nucleus as well as some thin 'jets' spraying from hollows in the comet where ices are exposed and vaporized by exposure to the sunlight. 48K