While NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft was making its gravity assisted flyby past Jupiter, some friends back at home were watching to help give the science some perspective. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory gathered images of Jupiter for several days before the flyby, and the combined photographs were released today.
New Horizons made its closest approach to Jupiter on February 28, 2007, getting as close as 2.3 million kilometers (1.4 million miles) from the great planet. In addition to receiving a speed boost, the spacecraft also gathered more than 700 scientific observations of Jupiter and its moons.
Scientists back on Earth combined images taken by Hubble and Chandra together into a single composite image that shows the planet in visible, ultraviolet and X-rays. When the data from New Horizons is analyzed, scientists will be able put them into perspective knowing what the entire planet’s environment was like at the time.
New Horizons will meet up with Pluto in 2015.