These images show the apparent edge (limb) of the planet Jupiter as seen through both the violet filter (first and third frames) and an infrared filter (2nd and fourth frames) of the Solid State Imaging (CCD) system aboard NASA's Galileo spacecraft. North is to the top of the picture. The top two frames, obtained near 315 degrees show a separate haze layer above the northern part of the limb, becoming less prominent toward the south (lower left). This haze layer is present in both the violet and infrared images, but it is much darker relative to Jupiter's crescent in the infrared. In the bottom two frames, which are only 20 degrees away near 295 degrees West longitude, there is no sign of the detached haze layer, but there is at least one streak visible on the crescent, running roughly north-south and slightly brighter than its surroundings. It is possible, although not certain, that this feature would appear as a separate haze layer if it were seen precisely on the limb. This streak cannot be exactly what appeared over the limb as a separate haze layer in the top two frames, since that region of Jupiter has rotated away from the camera, and is on the far side of the planet in the bottom two frames. A detached haze layer such as that seen in the top two frames has been found previously on only one other body with a thick atmosphere: Saturn's satellite Titan.
The brightness levels of these images have been stretched to bring out the fainter features; the bright crescent of the planet thus appears saturated. The images, which show the limb near 60 degrees North latitude (planetographic), were obtained on December 20, 1996 Universal Time. In the upper two frames, the spacecraft was about 1,286,000 km from the limb of Jupiter and the resolution is about 13 kilometers per picture element. In the lower two frames, the spacecraft was about 1,561,000 km from the limb of Jupiter and the resolution is about 16 kilometers per picture element.
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.