Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 September 26
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Approaching Jupiter
Credit: Voyager 1 Spacecraft Team, JPL, NASA

Explanation: In 1979 the Voyager 1 spacecraft compiled this view as it approached the gas giant Jupiter. Snapping a picture every time the Great Red Spot was properly aligned, the above time-lapse sequence shows not only spot rotation but also the swirling of neighboring clouds. Since Jupiter takes about 10 hours to rotate, this short sequence actually covers several days. Voyager 1 shot past Jupiter rapidly taking pictures on which many discoveries would be made, including previously unknown cloud patterns, rings, moons, and active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io. Voyager is moving so fast that it will one day leave our Solar System.

Tomorrow's picture: Fourth Light

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.