Jupiter/Galilean Satellites: When Galileo first turned his telescope toward Jupiter four centuries ago, he saw that the giant planet had four large satellites, or moons. These, the largest of dozens of moons that orbit Jupiter, later became known as the Galilean satellites. The larger two, Callisto and Ganymede, are roughly the size of the planet Mercury; the smallest, Io and Europa, are approximately the size of Earth's Moon. This MGS MOC image, obtained from Mars orbit on 8 May 2003, shows Jupiter and three of the four Galilean satellites: Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa. At the time, Io was behind Jupiter as seen from Mars, and Jupiter's giant red spot had rotated out of view. This image has been specially processed to show both Jupiter and its satellites, since Jupiter, at an apparent magnitude of -1.8, was much brighter than the three satellites.
A note about the coloring process: The MGS MOC high resolution camera only takes grayscale (black-and-white) images. To "colorize" the image, a recent Cassini image acquired during its Jupiter flyby was used to color the MOC Jupiter picture. The procedure used was as follows: the Cassini color image was converted from 24-bit color to 8-bit color using a JPEG to GIF conversion program. The 8-bit color image was converted to 8-bit grayscale and an associated lookup table mapping each gray value of that image to a red-green-blue color triplet (RGB). Each color triplet was root-sum-squared (RSS), and sorted in increasing RSS value. These sorted lists were brightness-to-color maps for their respective images. Each brightness-to-color map was then used to convert the 8-bit grayscale MOC image to an 8-bit color image. This 8-bit color image was then converted to a 24-bit color image. The color image was edited to return the background to black. Jupiter's Galilean Satellites were not colored.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
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