Detail View: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Collection: Seeing the Invisible: Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Title: 
Seeing the Invisible: Jupiter's Magnetosphere
Creator: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Description: 
This image taken on Dec. 28, 2000, by the ion and neutral camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft makes the huge magnetosphere surrounding Jupiter visible in a way no instrument on any previous spacecraft has been able to do. The magnetosphere is a bubble of charged particles trapped within the magnetic environment of the planet. This image shows it stretching across about 3 million kilometers (about 1.8 million miles) of space, or more than 12 times the diameter of Jupiter. Some of the fast-moving ions within the magnetosphere pick up electrons to become neutral atoms, and once they become neutral, they can escape Jupiter's magnetic field, flying out from the magnetosphere at speeds of thousands of kilometers or miles per second. Cassini's instrument for imaging the magnetosphere builds an image from these atoms reaching the spacecraft, analagous to the way a normal camera builds an image from photons. Some details of structure are visible within the magnetosphere, including the most intense emission region about 300,000 kilometers (about 200,000 miles) out from Jupiter, where material spewed from the volcanoes of Jupiter's moon Io form a torus, or doughnut-shaped ring, around the planet. Additional information about Cassini is available online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini . Cassini is a cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Cassini for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. ##### Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
Date: 
12/30/00
MediaType: 
Image
Year: 
2000
Contributor: 
JPL Archives
What: 
Ion and Neutral Camera (INCA)
What: 
Cassini
What: 
Jupiter
What: 
Moon
What: 
Io
Where: 
California
Where: 
Washington, D.C.