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Jupiter Gallery

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Jupiters moon Io seen by Galileo Featured Jupiter Print

Jupiters moon Io seen by Galileo

Io. Coloured Galileo spacecraft image of Io, the innermost of Jupiter's Galilean moons. Dark areas correspond to volcanic hot spots, & may be active lava flows. The red, orange & yellow colours come from various forms and compounds of sulphur which cover most of the surface. The white areas are probably sulphur dioxide frost'. The intense volcanic activity has resulted in mountains, layered plateaus and depressions. The side of Io seen here permanently faces away from Jupiter. This image was made by combining high-resolution data taken by Galileo's Solid State Imaging (CCD) instrument on November 6 1996 with low-resolution colour images acquired on 7 September 1996

© Nasa/Science Photo Library

Pioneer F Plaque Symbology Featured Jupiter Print

Pioneer F Plaque Symbology

The Pioneer F spacecraft, destined to be the first man made object to escape from the solar system into interstellar space, carries this pictorial plaque. It is designed to show scientifically educated inhabitants of some other star system, who might intercept it millions of years from now, when Pioneer was launched, from where, and by what kind of beings. (With the hope that they would not invade Earth.) The design is etched into a 6 inch by 9 inch gold-anodized aluminum plate, attached to the spacecraft's attenna support struts in a position to help shield it from erosion by interstellar dust. The radiating lines at left represents the positions of 14 pulsars, a cosmic source of radio energy, arranged to indicate our sun as the home star of our civilization. The "1-" symbols at the ends of the lines are binary numbers that represent the frequencies of these pulsars at the time of launch of Pioneer F relative of that to the hydrogen atom shown at the upper left with a "1" unity symbol. The hydrogen atom is thus used as a "universal clock, " and the regular decrease in the frequencies of the pulsars will enable another civilization to determine the time that has elapsed since Pioneer F was launched. The hydrogen is also used as a "universal yardstick" for sizing the human figures and outline of the spacecraft shown on the right. The hydrogen wavelength, about 8 inches, multiplied by the binary number representing "8" shown next to the woman gives her height, 64 inches. The figures represent the type of creature that created Pioneer. The man's hand is raised in a gesture of good will. Across the bottom are the planets, ranging outward from the Sun, with the spacecraft trajectory arching away from Earth, passing Mars, and swinging by Jupiter

© NASA

Stunning light shows in a planets atmosphere Featured Jupiter Print

Stunning light shows in a planets atmosphere

Astronomers are using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras -- stunning light shows in a planet's atmosphere -- on the poles of the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. This observation program is supported by measurements made by NASA's Juno spacecraft, currently on its way to Jupiter. Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is best known for its colorful storms, the most famous being the Great Red Spot. Now astronomers have focused on another beautiful feature of the planet, using Hubble's ultraviolet capabilities. The extraordinary vivid glows shown in the new observations are known as auroras. They are created when high-energy particles enter a planet's atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas. As well as producing beautiful images, this program aims to determine how various components of Jupiter's auroras respond to different conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun. This observation program is perfectly timed as NASA's Juno spacecraft is currently in the solar wind near Jupiter and will enter the orbit of the planet in early July 2016. While Hubble is observing and measuring the auroras on Jupiter, Juno is measuring the properties of the solar wind itself; a perfect collaboration between a telescope and a space probe. "These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen", said Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester, U.K., and principal investigator of the study. "It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno." Credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

© NASA