Where In The Universe Challenge #12

It’s time once again for another “Where In The Universe” challenge. See if you can guess where in our vast universe this picture was taken. Give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image, too. We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback on this challenge, and readers seem to enjoy this weekly test of their visual space-themed recognition skills. And we’ve been enjoying the reader comments on their successful and the not-so-successful identification of these space images. We’ve learned so much about the universe by the images taken by all the different spacecraft, and scientists can refer again and again images to study the fine details. And sometimes, they see something they didn’t even know was there.

Alright, its time to make your guess, and no peeking below before your guess has been made.

This is an image of Jupiter’s rings, taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft, from the dark side of Jupiter. The faint ring system is shown in this color composite as two light orange lines protruding from the left side of Jupiter’s limb. This picture was taken in Jupiter’s shadow through orange and violet filters. Voyager 2 was at a range of 1,450,000 kilometers (900,000 miles), and about 2 degrees below the plane of the ring.

We didn’t know Jupiter had rings until the Voyagers found them in 1979. Jupiter’s rings are very dark, unlike Saturn’s rings which contain lots of ice and are very reflective. Not until the Galileo mission which orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003, did scientists figure out the rings were made of dust and materials kicked up by meteoroids slamming into Jupiter’s inner moons.


Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter on March 5, 1979, taking more than 18,000 images of planet and its moons. Voyager 2 flew by Jupiter on July 9, 1979, taking about the same number. Between the two Voyager spacecraft, three new moons and a thin, dark ring were discovered. Voyager images of Jupiter’s moon Io revealed active volcanoes, the first ever discovered on another body besides Earth.

How did you do on this challenge?

21 Replies to “Where In The Universe Challenge #12”

  1. Woohoo! Guessed Jupiter’s rings and the Voyager spacecraft, although I didn’t know which Voyager. Probably helped that I’ve already seen a similar image long ago. 😀

    It’s still a cool image …

  2. Yeah, I thought it was either Neptune, Saturn, or Uranus. Figures it’s the one I wasn’t thinking of.
    And I never get the spaceship, even though one of the Voyagers would have been the best guess!

  3. Not bad, I guess. I guessed Jupiter & rings, but thought it was shot by New Horizons (long exposure + high speed + 3 photos taken though 3 filters = that kind of psycadelic image), but thinking again I should have known better: NH is prepared for the much dimmer conditions in Pluto, so it would have taken a much clearer shot of Jupiter from that phase.

    Anyway, a partial success this time.

  4. me too, since the photo only feature a ring, and a simple silhouette, adding to it that i have never seen this photo before, i though that it can be anything from jupiter, uranus, to neptune.

  5. Well, I was closer. Well, maybe not. At first I was thinking that it was a ring around a planet or a moon. Then I convinced myself it was a piece of an image of supernova SN 1006 from Hubble.

    Keep ’em coming! One day I’m gonna get this right!

  6. AT LAST!! I got one right.!! Ok, i didn’t get the spacecraft, but, I’m impressed that I FINALLY got one of these dastardly photos right!

  7. i thought it was the red ribbon remanent of a thousand year old supernova…. and i didn’t know jupiter had rings…. awesome

  8. I seem to recall something about the volcano’s on Io also being a contributor to Jupiter’s ring systems.

    Of course, it’s been, well… years, going on decades, so I may not be remembering correctly.

    ~Skywise

  9. Got it exactly right, this is the first time I could name the image and the spacecraft without having seen the image before. I love these challenges and look forward to them every week.

  10. Being a mere dilettante in astronomy, I guessed Saturn or Jupiter– oh, well. Please continue this feature– I never get it right but it IS fun, I learn something new, and the pictures are always gorgeous!

  11. Yikes! I’m ashamed – ASHAMED I tell ya! I immediately jumped at Saturn and was gonna say how easy it was. Also, I’ve reconsidered my previous justification for another incorrect guess. With the corrected total I’ve now missed 3 since it began. I look forward to the challenge and think I’m doing pretty good, even though this was a downright embarassing miss. Next time I won’t jump an answer!

  12. Was sure it was some ring system thought not which one!!! and a complete blank on the space craft! 🙁
    Will keep on trying…
    thanks for these interesting images!!

  13. I guessed Jupiter, and Voyager, but didn’t guess which one proper, really.

    First time I’ve managed to guess correctly.

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