Jupiter and Europa, by Voyager (Image Credit: NASA/JPL, Michael Benson)

When Voyager first departed Earth, it was set to become the first probe to venture into the outer solar system, and beyond. Ultimately, it did much more than that; not only did it capture our hearts and imaginations, but it took many of the most iconic images of all time. Most famous, of course, is the pale blue dot, but others pack a similar punch.

One of them shows Europa—one of the Galilean moon of Jupiter—standing  against the Jovian giant itself. Unfortunately, the image (images, actually)—taken by Voyager 1 in March of 1979—is in black and white, and a professionally remastered version doesn't yet exist (at least not that I could find. If you remain curious, a redditor tried his hand at colorizing it).

To offer some perspective, Jupiter—the fifth planet from the Sun—is also the largest—dwarfing all of the other planets put together. At its equator, it has a diameter of 88,846 miles (142,984 km), and Voyager passed within 217,000 miles (349,000 kilometers) of it during its closest approach.

Europa, which sits approximately 414,000 miles (670,900 km) from Jupiter, has a diameter of 1,900 miles (3,100 km)—making it just a little bit smaller than Earth's moon.

Finally, Jupiter's Great Red Spot—the huge storm on the left, which has persisted for hundreds of years (at minimum)—spanned around 14,500 miles (23,335 km) across when Voyager 1 visited. Since then, its size has decreased to 10,253 miles (16,500 kilometers), although we aren't quite sure why.

The raw data comes from the Voyager mission, but the finished product was assembled by Michael Benson (Kinetikon Pictures), who picked through NASA's archives and stitched around 60 different shots together.

You can see some more of his work on UniverseToday by following this link(See a larger image here)


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