NASA releases a photo of Jupiter’s narrow ring measuring about 1,000 km (600 miles) wide with a fainter sheet of material inside it. A planetary astronomer suggests that the ring’s largest boulders are corralled into a narrow belt by the influence of Jupiter’s two innermost moons. The ring also appears to darken in the middle, a possible hint that a smaller, undiscovered moon is clearing out a gap. The faint glow extending in from the ring, the “halo,” is likely caused by fine dust that diffuses in toward Jupiter.
This is one of the clearest pictures ever taken of Jupiter’s faint ring system. The ring looks different from what we expected it has usually appeared much wider.
At a distance of 2.5 million km (1.5 million miles) from Io, New Horizons takes a photo of three volcanic eruptions taking place: Tvashtar’s 290-km (180-mile) high dust plume at the 11 o’clock position, Prometheus’ 60-km (40-mile) high plume at 9 o’clock, and Masubi’s eruption appearing as a bright spot near the bottom on the night side.
New Horizons makes its closest approach to Jupiter at a distance of 2.3 million km (1.4 million miles) passing through an aim point just 500 miles across in order to get a gravity assist that will boost its speed toward Pluto. The probe gains almost 14,000 km/h (9,000 mph) accelerating to over 83,600 km/h (52,000 mph). It has traveled 800 million km (500 million miles).
We’re on our way to Pluto. The swingby was a success; the spacecraft is on course and performed just as we expected.
New Horizons’ LORRI snaps this image of Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon from a distance of 3.5 million km (2.2 million miles). Dark patches of ancient terrain are broken up by swaths of brighter, younger material, and the entire icy surface is peppered by more recent impact craters that have splashed fresh, bright ice across the surface. With a diameter of 5,268 kilometers (3,273 miles), Ganymede is the largest satellite in the solar system.
At a distance of 3.1 million km (1.9 million miles), New Horizons’ LORRI takes this picture of Europa. Covered in ice, Europa is about the size of Earth’s moon, with a diameter of 3,130 kilometers (1.945 miles).
New Horizons’ LORRI snaps a picture of the Little Red Spot from 3 million km (1.8 million miles).
These LORRI images of the Little Red Spot are amazing in their detail. They show the early stages of this newly reddened storm system with a resolution that far surpasses anything available until now.
From 4 million km (2.5 million miles) away, New Horizons’ LORRI instrument photos Io’s Tvashtar volcano erupting. Jupiter’s tidal interaction with Io heats it up and causes it to be volcanically active. The bright photo shows Tvashtar erupting a huge dust plume at the 11 o’clock position. The bumps at the 2 o’clock position are tall mountains. The darker photo shows surface features of Io.
This is the best image of a large volcanic plume on Io since the Voyager flybys in 1979.
New Horizons’ SWAP instrument sends back data on the solar wind around Jupiter. From a distance of 40 million miles, it observes an immense structure of compressed, dense, hot ionized gas that forms in the solar wind, called a co-rotating interaction region.
These solar wind structures collide with the magnetospheres of planets and, we believe, cause major variations in their structures. Because it has the largest magnetosphere in the solar system, the effects of the solar wind at Jupiter could have significant implications for all the planets.
New Horizons rendezvous with Jupiter begins with black-and-white photos of Jupiter and infrared images of its moon Callisto. The probe is 81 million km (50 million miles) from the planet.
Our ground team has worked very hard to get to this point. Now the curtain is rising on the next stage of Jupiter-system exploration. It’s exciting!
New Horizons probe takes its first pictures of Jupiter with its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) from 291 million km (181 million miles) away.
LORRI’s first Jupiter image is all we could have expected. We see belts, zones and large storms in Jupiter’s atmosphere. We see the Jovian moons Io and Europa, as well as the shadows they cast on Jupiter. It is most gratifying to detect these moons against the glare from Jupiter.
The probe fires its thrusters again for 76 seconds in order to perfect its path toward Jupiter. It is 51.7 million km (32.1 million miles) from Earth traveling at 37.5 km (23.3 miles) per second.
New Horizons fires its thrusters for twelve minutes to refine its trajectory toward Jupiter. It is 11.9 million km (7.4 million miles) from Earth.
Everything performed as planned. New Horizons has to fly through a precise aim point near Jupiter to get to Pluto on time and on target, and these maneuvers are putting us on the right path.
New Horizons performs its first trajectory correction maneuver by firing its thrusters for four minutes 36 seconds to begin bringing it on a path to rendezvous with Jupiter where it will get a gravity assist to speed it on its way to Pluto.