News Release Archive:

News Release 321 of 1051

September 9, 2009 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-25

Hubble Opens New Eyes on the Universe


Image: Collision Leaves Giant Jupiter Bruised

Collision Leaves Giant Jupiter BruisedSTScI-PRC2009-25j

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This Hubble picture, taken on July 23, is the first full-disk natural-color image of Jupiter made with Hubble's new camera, the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). It is the sharpest visible-light picture of Jupiter since the New Horizons spacecraft flew by that planet in 2007. Each pixel in this high-resolution image spans about 74 miles (119 km) in Jupiter's atmosphere. Jupiter was more than 370 million miles (600 million km) from Earth when the images were taken.

The dark smudge at bottom right is debris from a comet or asteroid that plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated.

In addition to the fresh impact, the image reveals a spectacular variety of shapes in the swirling atmosphere of Jupiter. The planet is wrapped in bands of yellow, brown, and white clouds. These bands are produced by the atmosphere flowing in different directions at various latitudes. When these opposing flows interact, turbulence appears.

Such data complement the images taken from other telescopes and spacecraft by providing exquisite details of atmospheric phenomena. For example, the image suggests that dark "barges" —- tracked by amateur astronomers on a nightly basis —- may differ both in form and color from barge features identified by the Voyager spacecraft. (The Great Red Spot and the smaller Red Oval are both out of view on the other side of the planet.)

This color image is a composite of three separate color exposures (red, blue, and green) made by WFC3. Additional processing was done to compensate for asynchronous imaging in the color filters and other effects.

Object Name: Jupiter

Image Type: Astronomical

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Wong (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.), H. B. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), and the Jupiter Impact Team

Technical facts about this image:

About this Object
Object Name: Jupiter
Object Description: Planet
Distance: The semi-major axis of Jupiter's orbit about the Sun is 5.2 astronomical units (483 million miles or 778 million km). On July 23, 2009 Jupiter was 368 million miles from Earth.
Dimensions: The planet has a diameter of roughly 88,789 miles (142,984 km) at the equator.
About these Data
Data Description: The image was created from Hubble data from proposal 12003: H. Hammel (Space Science Institute), A. Simon-Miller (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), J. Clarke (Boston University), I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley), K. Noll (STScI), G. Orton (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), A. Sanchez-Lavega (University of the Basque Country, Spain), and M. Wong (STScI).
Instrument: WFC3/UVIS
Exposure Date(s): July 23, 2009 19:00 UT
Filters: F225W (225 nm), F275W (275 nm), FQ378N (378 nm), FQ437N (437 nm), FQ508N (508 nm), FQ634N (634 nm), FQ727N (727 nm), FQ889N (889 nm), FQ906N (906 nm), FQ924N (924 nm)
About this Image
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team
Release Date: September 9, 2009
Color: The image is a composite of separate exposures made by the WFC3 instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope. Three filters were used to sample narrow wavelength ranges. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic image. In this case, the assigned colors are:
FQ634N (634 nm) red
FQ508N (508 nm) green
FQ437N (437 nm) blue
Orientation/Scale: Collision Leaves Giant Jupiter Bruised
Acknowledgments for Jupiter
Observers: H. Hammel (Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.), A. Simon-Miller (NASA/GSFC), J. Clarke (Boston University), I. de Pater (UC Berkeley), K. Noll (STScI), G. Orton (JPL), A. Sanchez-Lavega (University of the Basque Country, Spain), and M. Wong (STScI)
Data Analysis: M. Wong (STScI)
Image Composition: Z. Levay and L. Frattare (STScI)
Text: D. Weaver and R. Villard (STScI)
Illustrations: Z. Levay (STScI)
Video: G. Bacon (STScI)
Science Consultant: M. Livio (STScI)


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