Thursday, May 03, 2007

New pictures of Jupiter

The New Horizons project, an exploratory mission to Pluto and the Kuiper belt, released photos of Jupiter and its moons last Tuesday.

The New Horizons came to within 1.4 million miles of Jupiter on February 28 in what can be described as a slingshot manuever (a term Star Trek fans should be familiar with) to propel it faster to its destination.

Some 70% of 34GB has come back so far, transmitted over 600 million miles by radio.

Images include the first close-up scans of the Little Red Spot, Jupiter’s second-largest storm. The storm, about half the size of Jupiter’s larger Great Red Spot and about 70 percent of Earth’s diameter.

The spacecraft also grabbed pictures of the tenuous Jovian ring system and close-ups of the four main moons of Jupiter.

New Horizons was launched in January 2006 and is scheduled to reach Pluto in 2015.

More pictures at the New Horizons web site.