Where In The Universe #68

Article written: 26 Aug , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s image for the WITU Challenge, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. You know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. We’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is β€” give everyone the chance to guess.

UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below.

Twenty years ago the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Neptune and took this image of the Great Dark Spot on that planet. This is the last face-on view of the GDS that Voyager took with its narrow-angle camera. The
image was shuttered 45 hours before closest approach at a distance of 2.8 million kilometers (1.7 million miles). The smallest structures that can be seen are of an order of 50 kilometers (31 miles). The image shows feathery white clouds that overlie the boundary of the dark and light blue regions.

The pinwheel (spiral) structure of both the dark boundary and the white cirrus suggest a storm system rotating counterclockwise. Periodic small-scale patterns in the white cloud, possibly waves, are short-lived and do not persist from one Neptunian rotation to the next. This color composite was made from the clear and green filters of the narrow-angle camera.

For more Voyager pictures of Neptune and its satellites, check out the NSSDC website.

25 Responses

  1. Jon Hanford says

    Neptune’s ‘Great Dark Spot’ imaged by Voyager 2 in 1989.

  2. Dave Finton says

    This one I knew right away without hesitation. Neptune, Great Dark Spot, Voyager 2

  3. Jorge says

    This is Neptune, the “great dark spot” one of the Voyagers (I never know which one, but it’s probably the same that snapped Triton, i.e., V2) imaged during its flyby, to great surprise of the scientists, who thought that that far there shouldn’t be enough energy coming from the sun to cause large atmospheric storm systems. Turns out, there was. πŸ™‚

  4. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    This is an easy one. This is the dark strom on Neptune, captured by V2.


  5. Imminent Death says

    Pffft… that’s a picture of The Loch Ness Monster.

  6. sofista says

    Yep, this one is really easy: Neptune’s Great Dark Spot, by Voyager 2.

  7. scibuff says

    seems like the difficulty oscillates a lot from week to week πŸ˜€

  8. Nexus says

    This one is too easy. It’s the Great Dark Spot on Neptune, imaged by Voyager 2.

  9. AlekseyA says

    Easy, Neptune’s Dark Spot, Voyager

  10. noddy244 says

    Dark Spot on Neptune taken by Voyager 2 in 1989

  11. Nereid says

    Neptune, Voyager 2 (I don’t know which year)

  12. William928 says

    My first thought was Neptune, after looking at other comments, looks like I was correct! Easy, yes, but a beautiful image nonetheless.

  13. ND says

    I love Neptune’s shades of blue, reminds me of the colors of the Mediterranean.

  14. pink says

    Yay I knew this one. I knew it was the great dark spot on Neptune by Voyager… although I didn’t know 1 or 2. (Looked them up and I do now!)

    Neptune is such a cool planet… I love space <3

  15. IBY says

    Neptune Voyager 2 197… 6?

  16. Ringman says

    dark spot on neptune?

  17. vino says

    I think it might be the Neptune’s Dark spot…Probably captured by one of the Voyager missions!!

  18. stile86 says

    Great Dark Spot, Neptune, Voyager 2 – the only spacecraft ever to visit the planet – so far. Easy if you’re old enough to remember it happening πŸ˜‰

  19. kootstar says

    Like the American eagle or the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, this is the royal mark of Neptune. But I am never good at keeping track of who did what, so I’d just have to agree with Voyager, but which and when still a mystery. Hoooray, at least I knew that much! I’m seldom even in on these for lack of this knowledge.

  20. MageAshke says

    Neptune’s dark spot, V’ger 2

  21. BlueAmberol says

    I went to the Pasadena auditorium to see the raw images come in via a feed from JPL. Of course, no one knew what would be seen, There was a dead time while the space craft (V2) went behind Neptune. Then the images resumed (after my nap).

  22. Terragen says

    Finally one I know, Neptune’s Blue Spot. Very beautiful, I’d like to see the rain of diamonds in Neptune’s atmosphere.

  23. kstebleton says

    For ONCE, I recognized the “witu” challenge!

    Neptune, Great Dark Spot, Voyager 2

  24. neoguru says

    Assuming it’s not a false color image, it’s gotta be a storm on Neptune which means it was taken by the Voyager. But if it IS a false color image, then it could be on ANY gas giant, most likely Saturn by Cassini. I’m hoping it’s false color and EVERYBODY would be wrong! ‘ceptin’ for me of course…. hehehe

  25. neoguru says

    These things are great. So far somebody’s always gotten it right. I’m hoping for one that everybody misses. I’ve done about 65% if ya don’t count the spacecraft.

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