This Image Of Jupiter Is So Detailed It Seems Fake

The stunning image below was captured by Voyager 1 34 years ago, but Björn Jónsson has just strung together 14 pictures captured by the satellite, which is currently on its way out of the solar system and has entered a new region of space we didn’t know about

The incredibly detailed image shows Jupiter’s moons Io (the bright moon on the left) and Europa (on the right):

Jupiter image io europa moons A double transit of Jupiter by moons Io and Europa, as observed by Voyager 1 on its approach on February 27, 1979. This is a 14-frame mosaic. Most of the data was captured in a 3-by-3 mosaic at around 11:00 on February 27, 1979, but gaps were filled with data taken an hour before and an hour later.

Photo: NASA / JPL / Bjorn Jonsson

Here’s a zoomable image to see the moons up close.

Here’s how he put together the image, from his guest blog at the Planetary Society:

The images were obtained from a range of 7.3 million kilometers on February 27, 1979. This is slightly closer than in an earlier mosaic I posted that includes the Great Red Spot, which makes this the highest resolution global Voyager mosaic of Jupiter that I know of (there is a Cassini mosaic where the resolution is slightly higher though). Voyager 1 was imaging Jupiter through orange and violet filters so I had to make synthetic green and do some colour processing to get something resembling an RGB image. I used 14 orange/violet image pairs (28 images). Overall the colour and contrast should be fairly accurate.

The processing is similar to the processing of the earlier big mosaic. The main exception is that I had to fill a very small gap near the north pole by ‘cloning’ adjacent areas. Since the satellites moved relative to Jupiter between the orange and violet images the satellite images had to be processed separately from Jupiter and then ‘merged’ into the ‘background’ (Jupiter). The result in effect shows the position of the satellites and the appearance of the Jovian clouds near the satellites in the violet images.

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