Expect More Picture Releases as Cassini Nears Jupiter

Dec. 18, 2000

A striking color picture showing mottled cloud patterns near Jupiter's north pole begins a sequence of more frequent release of Jupiter images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft as the craft gets nearer to the planet over the next two weeks.

The Cassini Imaging Team made the true-color, contrast-enhanced, sharpened composite picture released today from frames taken by Cassini's narrow angle camera asthe spacecraft flew within 19 million kilometers (11.4 million miles) on Dec. 13, 2000. The details in Cassini's images of Jupiter surpass those seen in the highest resolution Hubble Space Telescope Planetary Camera images, notes Carolyn C. Porco of the University of Arizona, Cassini Imaging Team leader.

The picture of how cloud patterns at high latitude differ from the familiar horizontal bands around Jupiter's middle is available from the web site of the Cassini Imaging Science team at the University of Arizona, Tucson, at http://ciclops.lpl.arizona.edu/ciclops/ and from the website of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/jupiter

The imaging team and JPL plan to release pictures almost daily from now through Cassini's closest approach to Jupiter, on Dec. 30. The images will likely include shots of Jupiter's moons and rings, as well as its clouds. They will be available at the web sites given above. Cassini is already close enough to Jupiter to return higher-resolution images than possible with the planetary camera of NASA's Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

Cassini will use a boost from Jupiter's gravity to reach its ultimate destination, Saturn. While near Jupiter, it is studying that planet in collaboration with NASA's Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since Dec. 7, 1995. More information on the joint Cassini-Galileo observations is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jupiterflyby

Cassini is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the
Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini and Galileo missions for
NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

(EDITORS: Contact Porco in Tucson until Friday, Dec. 29, and through the JPL Media Relations Office, 818-354-5011, the following weekend.)


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