PetaPixel

Earth and Jupiter Seen in a Single Photo Taken From Mars

Planetary conjunctions are beautiful to photograph from Earth, but send a camera to another planet in the Solar System, and you can shoot a planetary conjunction photograph containing Earth!

Back on May 8th, 2003, the Mars Orbiter Camera on the Mars Global Surveyor had the rare opportunity to photograph both the Earth and Jupiter in the same region of space. It was the first planetary conjunction observed from another planet, with the Earth 86 million miles away and Jupiter 600 million miles away. The resulting image (shown above right), contains both planets, along with some of the moons.

Due to the large differences in distance and brightness of the two planets and their moons, two separate exposures (and subsequent post-processing adjustments) were required for the shot. They were then stitched together, and colorized using color data extracted from images captured during previous NASA missions.

Here’s a higher-res version of the photograph:

The three moons of Jupiter seen in the photograph are Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa (from left to right).

If you’re wondering why Jupiter looks larger than Earth in the photograph even though it’s so far away, it’s because of perspective distortion
coupled with the fact that Jupiter is so much bigger. Here’s a to-scale size comparison:

You can learn more about this image and see even larger version over at Malin Space Science Systems.


 
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  • http://twitter.com/alex_cruceru Alex Cruceru

    Awesome!

  • Samcornwell

    Now THIS is what I come to PetaPixel for! Awesome photo find!

  • http://www.dzierza.com Michal

    This has officially made my Sunday

  • http://www.momentumsaga.com Sybylla

    Just amazing! =D

  • http://www.facebook.com/lankyw James Wright

    so dam cool, Now put a man on mars

  • http://twitter.com/_photostorys PhotoStorys

    Amazing shot!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666705838 Gary Gumanow

    there’s a lot of blackness out there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emmerloo86 Emily Munn

    does mars atmosphere make photography of planets easier? it looks so clear! no haze at all!

  • locomoco

    and it makes you wonder how Neil’s armstrong could have taken a photo of earth with a 60mm on his hasselblad, the earth was big in that shot..

  • RmnTz

    This photo is taken from Mars … not from the Moon as Armstrong.

  • Calvin

    The photo was taken with the Mars orbiter, it’s basically a satellite above mars now.

  • http://www.kivisaar.se/ SwedishKiwi

    Oh, crop.

  • kendon

    skipping a few hundred million miles in distance that argument is even valid.

  • KRIS

    To all friends as:
    1. locomoco: “and it makes you wonder how Neil’s armstrong could have taken a photo of earth with a 60mm on his hasselblad, the earth was big in that shot”
    2.RmnTz•: “This photo is taken from Mars … not from the Moon as Armstrong”
    3. James Wright•: “so dam cool, Now put a man on mars”
    Let us not be deceived, nobody has ever been put on any moon or planet by anybody in the past. Applo 11 was a “joke”!
    +Flag as inappropriate

  • anas

    Awesome shot