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March 4, 2019 - Voyager Versus the Volcano

Voyager Versus the Volcano  A few days after its closest approach to Jupiter, the Voyager 1 spacecraft glanced back over its shoulder and captured a routine image of Io, the innermost of Jupiter’s four largest moons. That image, taken 40 years ago this week, was processed by Voyager navigation team member Linda Morabito, who noticed a rather large cloud near the moon’s limb. Further analysis revealed that the mysterious object was actually the giant plume of a volcano—the first active volcano discovered anywhere beyond Earth. The Voyager and Galileo spacecraft have shown Io to be awash in active volcanoes—more than any other world in the solar system. In this Galileo image, taken in February 2000, newly erupted hot lava is seen in the Tvashtar Catena chain of volcanic calderas.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Weekly Calendar

March 4 - 10, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 4

Moon at apogee
Pallas appears stationary

1979: Jupiter’s rings discovered
1994: STS-62 Columbia launched

Tuesday 5

Mercury appears stationary

1512: Gerardus Mercator born
1978: Landsat 3 launched
1979: Voyager 1 flies by Jupiter
1982: Venera 14 lands on Venus, returns color photos of Venus’s surface

Wednesday 6

New Moon 11:04 AM ET
Neptune in conjunction with Sun

1787: Joseph Fraunhofer born
1937: Valentina Tereshkova born, first woman in space
1986: Vega 1 flies by Halley’s Comet
2015: Dawn becomes first spacecraft to orbit dwarf planet Ceres

Thursday 7

Vesta in conjunction with Sun

1792: John Herschel born
1837: Henry Draper born
1962: OSO-1 launched
1969: Apollo 9 astronauts complete first solo flight of lunar module
2009: Kepler Observatory launched

Friday 8

1979: Active volcanoes found on Io
2001: STS-102 Discovery launched
2007: Orbital Express launched
2008: First Automated Transfer Vehicle launched

Moon phase Saturday 9

Uranus 5° north of Moon

1564: David Fabricius born
1934: Yuri Gagarin born, first human in space
1961: Sputnik 9 launched
1986: Vega 2 flies by Halley’s Comet

Moon phase Sunday 10

Daylight Saving Time begins 2:00am

1820: Royal Astronomical Society founded
1977: Rings discovered around Uranus
2006: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.