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Picture Scramble # 70 3 January 2000

Cassini at Jupiter

The Cassini Spacecraft is currently flying leisurely by the planet Jupiter. (25 pieces)

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Jupiter's four largest satellites, including Io, the golden ornament in front of Jupiter in this image, have fascinated Earthlings ever since Galileo Galilei discovered them in 1610 in one of his first astronomical uses of the telescope.

The entire body of Io, about the size of Earth’s Moon, is periodically flexed as it speeds around Jupiter and feels, as a result of its non-circular orbit, the periodically changing gravitational pull of the planet. The heat arising in Io's interior from this continual flexure makes it the most volcanically active body in the solar system, with more than 100 active volcanoes. Copyright © 2000-2007 by Calvin J. Hamilton & Randall L. Whipkey. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.