These frames demonstrate the dramatic improvement in the resolution of pictures that NASA's Galileo spacecraft is returning compared to previous images of the Jupiter system. The spacecraft's many orbits allow numerous close flyby's of Jupiter and its moons. The top left frame shows the best resolution (1.3 kilometers per picture element or pixel) data of the Uruk Sulcus region on Jupiter's moon Ganymede which was available after the 1979 flyby of the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The top right frame shows the same area as captured by Galileo during its closer flyby of Ganymede on June 27, 1996 at a range of 7,448 kilometers (4.628 miles). For comparison, the bottom frames show images of the San Francisco Bay area trimmed to the size of the Ganymede images and adjusted to similar resolutions.
The Galileo image of Uruk Sulcus has a resolution of about 74 meters per pixel. The area shown is about 35 by 55 kilometers (25 by 34 miles). North is to the top, and the sun illuminates the surface from the lower left. The image taken by the Solid State Imaging (CCD) system reveals details of the structure and shape of the ridges which permit scientists to determine their origin and their relation to other terrains. These new views are helping to unravel the complex history of this planet-sized moon.
The left SF Bay area image is from an image obtained by an Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer aboard an NOAA satellite. The right SF Bay area image is from a LandSat Thematic Mapper. Golden Gate Park is clearly visible as a narrow dark rectangle towards the middle of this image. Both images were trimmed and adjusted to resolutions similar to the Ganymede images.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.
This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo.