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Jupiter From New Horizons

October 14th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Jupiter seen from the New Horizons space probe in Google Earth SkyLast week NASA released a stunning bird’s-eye montage of Jupiter and its closest moon Io taken by the New Horizons robotic spacecraft. 

Since the pictures weren’t taken from Earth there seems little point placing them in Google Sky as if they were being viewed from Earth – in fact, because we’re much closer to the sun we never see a crescent Jupiter from Earth. So instead , I’ve removed Io and used the imaging date given in the NASA press release (February 28 2007, 01:40) to locate and scale it as seen from the point of view of the spacecraft, which at the time was 2.3 million km from Jupiter and 800 million km from Earth.

Here’s the file for viewing in GoogleSky:

Jupiter from New Horizons (2.7MB)

The file also includes overlays of Earth, the Sun and Pluto (New Horizons’ primary target) for size and distance comparison.  Again these are positioned from the point of view of the space probe.

For the astro-referencing I used the online JPL Horizons interface (no relation to New Horizons) which very cleverly allows you to generate an ephemeris for one Solar System object observed from any other major body, including spacecraft!  

More details about the original montage on the NASA news website here.  

Image Credits – Jupiter: NASA/JHU/APL – Earth: Screenshot from Celestia – Pluto: Eliot Young (SwRI) et al., NASA

  1. January 31st, 2008 at 21:13 | #1


  2. November 15th, 2008 at 21:10 | #2

    Once New Horizon takes a Photo of Pluto make Google Pluto

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