Where In The Universe #68

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 — 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 Replies to “Where In The Universe #68”

  1. 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. 🙂

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

  3. 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

  4. 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 😉

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

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

  8. 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

  9. 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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