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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
...and here it is in colour
Jupiter Cassini
Europa can be seen on the far right
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

The Cassini spacecraft has sent back another stunning picture of Jupiter as it nears the giant planet - but this is the first colour image returned to Earth.

The picture was taken from a distance of about 81 million kilometres (50 million miles).

It shows the coloured latitudinal bands circling the planet. Europa, one of Jupiter's largest moons, can also be seen on the right of the image casting a shadow on to the planet.

Cassini will pass by Jupiter on 30 December for a gravitational assist that will take the spacecraft to its ultimate destination of Saturn.

Jupiter Cassini
Data is already coming back about the Jovian atmosphere
The images taken as Cassini approaches and flies past Jupiter will be used for studies of the Jovian atmosphere. Already, Cassini has sent back valuable data on the dynamics of cloud movements.

Some of the upcoming studies will be made in conjunction with observations from Nasa's Galileo spacecraft, which has been orbiting and studying Jupiter since December 1995.

Cassini should arrive at Saturn in 2004. Once in orbit around the ringed planet, the spacecraft will drop a tiny probe into the thick atmosphere of Saturn's major moon, Titan.

Cassini is named after the famous Italian-French astronomer Jean Cassini. In 1665, he made what was probably the first sighting of a giant spot on Jupiter.

Jupiter Cassini
Internal heat drives atmospheric cells on Jupiter

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See also:

06 Oct 00 | Sci/Tech
Cassini approaches Jupiter
18 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Saturn probe swings by Earth
11 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
Icy moon shows its scars
23 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
New moon found circling Jupiter
19 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Io's wandering volcanoes
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