Side by side, one of these is a comet, the other an asteroid. Similar aren't they. It's not till the sun heats the comet that we see the familiar tail of dusty ice. Don't you love asteroids and comets? Speaking of asteroids in a minute.
These images of Jupiter are shown in true color on left, and enhanced for detailed on right. Exact same area.
It's been almost 20 years this Sunday since humans launched Galileo into the realms of Jupiter.
What we've learned and seen since the 1990s is incalculable.
But the craft was making discoveries long before it arrived.
(Just for show: Look at the poles of Jupiter below, via infrared. It spins faster than any other body in our sol-system)
So here's what else Galileo brought us:
BELOW is the huge asteroid GASPRA (color-enhanced.)
BELOW is the amazing asteroid, IDA, with its moon DACTYL. The tiny dot to the right, middle, is the actual picture and size of Dactyl. The upper right shot is to show a better view. Imagine a moon orbiting an asteroid. If IDA left its asteroid belt, we're have nowhere to hide. Yikes.
And here's a few seconds of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact in Jovian space. Don't know why you have to copy & paste, sorry. But it's worth it. (For some reason, Blogger doesn't seem to like moving shots.) Watch this fragment impact Jovian space:
It's a reminder that it was our special emmisary Galileo who brought us those unforgettable images. You see those 3 dark comet parts? They're not impacting Jupiter actually, they're exploding in the gaseous atmosphere of Jupiter. Just like it would happen here on Earth. It would break up into many, smaller parts. By the time a piece reached the planet, it would leave a just small crater. But we know that's not how it always happens - look at the Moon for instance, or Mars. They have no atmosphere; a "small" piece of comet could reach 10 miles long. Fascinating!