Boom! Io Explodes With Volcanic Eruptions Hundreds of Miles High

Three enormous volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io were witnessed by scientists last year using the Keck II and Gemini telescopes in Hawaii. The only other confirmed volcanically-active world in the solar system besides Earth, Io is constantly being resurfaced by eruptions and lava flows, due to internal heat and pressures caused by tidal stresses as a…

Europa Is Covered In Bacon. That Is Why We Must Go.

Whether you’re a trend-loving hipster, a breakfast lover, or just fan of meat products in general, you’d have to agree that it does look like a giant piece of bacon* running across the image above. And while the color and shape seems about right, the size and temperature is a bit off — that’d be…

Eppur Si Muove: Galileo’s Big Night

404 years ago tonight, January 7, 1610, the Pisan astronomer Galileo Galilei looked up at a bright Jupiter at opposition through his handmade telescope and saw three little “stars” next to it, which piqued his natural scientific curiosity. He soon realized that these little objects weren’t stars at all but rather moons that orbited the…

A Portrait of Earth and the Moon from 4 Million Miles Away

21 years ago today, December 16th, 1992, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft took this image of Earth and the Moon from a distance of about 3.9 million miles (6.2 million km). It’s one of the few images ever captured that singularly show both worlds in their entirety. And to think that when this image was taken, our…

Galileo’s Visit with an Asteroid, 22 Years Ago Today

Launched on its historic voyage to Jupiter on October 18, 1989, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft also got some good looks at several members of our solar system before it reached the giant planet — and one of them was the 12-mile-long asteroid Gaspra, of which it made its closest pass on October 29, 1991. The image…

Jupiter: Guardian of the Solar System

Can’t see the video below? Click here. Here’s a great presentation made for the NOAA and NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center about the giant planet Jupiter, part of the Science of a Sphere series. It shows the size and power of the huge gas planet and how it dominates its region of the solar system. Indeed,…

A Giant Among Moons

  Our solar system’s largest moon, Ganymede. © Ted Stryk. With so much focus these days on Saturn’s many varied moons, I thought I’d post a beautiful image of Jupiter’s lesser-seen – but anything but lesser-sized – moon, Ganymede. The largest of Jupiter’s 63 named moons – as well as the largest moon in our…

Breaking the Ice

Here’s a look at the frozen crater Cilix, a rare ice-filled dent in the scoured and resurfaced face of Europa. Taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1998, this image has been reassembled from raw data and color-calibrated by Gordan Ugarkovic to highlight the surface detail of this fascinating frozen cueball of a moon. Covered by…

Portrait of Io

Here’s a beautiful high-resolution portrait of Io by Jason Perry, assembled from Galileo images taken in 1999 and posted to The Gish Bar Times, his website dedicated to Jupiter’s volcanic moon. Check out the link for a labeled version of the image as well as details on how it was created. Slightly larger than our…