Cassini Jupiter Science

This true color mosaic of Jupiter was constructed from images taken by the narrow angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

On this page:

  • Overview: Purposes of studying Jupiter and instrument roles
  • Jupiter Data: Links to find general Jupiter data resources


Cassini-Huygens made its closest approach to Jupiter at a distance of 6.2 million miles (10 million kilometers) on Dec 30, 2000. All Cassini instruments except Radar, Radio Science and the Ion/Neutral Mass Spectrometer participated in the Jupiter flyby, which was categorized as an engineering exercise. This and the flyby distance placed strong constraints on the teams. Much of the effort was directed toward characterizing the instruments, improving calibration and gaining insight in operation of the spacecraft. The field and particles instruments carried out observations to further characterize the field and its interaction with the solar wind. This was done in collaboration with the Galileo mission that was in orbit around Jupiter. The optical instruments obtained time-lapse observations of Jupiter’s atmosphere, satellites and rings and the torus over a wider frequency range than before.

The first image was obtained on Oct 1, 2000 and the last on April 28, 2001 with IR and UV observations in the interval. Global mapping of Jupiter spanned a period from Oct 1-Dec 9, 2000. 2X2 Mosaics were taken from Nov 25 to Dec 9. Starting Dec 10 to Jan 13 2001 VIMS, CIRS, UVIS or ISS controlled targeting imaging Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io and Himalia. Rings were observed by CIRS, VIMS and ISS from Dec 19 to Jan 6.
The Cassini Mission Final Report summarizes the status of science, in 2018, as a result of Cassini exploration. It also includes open questions that will be explored by future scientists.

Mission Objectives

  • Jupiter and Satellite Studies (J_AO1) – Extend the time for studies of atmospheric dynamics and variable satellite phenomena, specifically Io volcanism, beyond the period accessible to the Galileo nominal mission.
  • Jupiter Global Atmospheric Structure and Composition (J_AO2) – Infer global atmospheric thermal structure and composition with instrumentation not carried by the Galileo orbiter, complementing the local in situ measurements of the Galileo probe.
  • Jupiter Magnetospheric Studies (J_AO3) – Explore the dusk side of the magnetosphere and intermediate regions of the magnetotail unvisited by previous spacecraft.
  • Jupiter Io Torus (J_AO4) – Obtain the first high-resolution images of the Io torus.

Key Publications

Remote sensing – UV to IR observations

Magnetospheric observations – Including Simultaneous Observations of Galileo/Cassini observations

Jupiter Data

Remote Sensing
These tables help understand the scope of observations of Jupiter and satellites during the encounter. Individual indices could aid in determining which data to retrieve.