July 09 – Voyager 2 Reaches Jupiter (1979)

July 9th 1979 was, I remember, an exciting day, and one I’d been looking forward to for years.  It was the day on which Voyager 2 got to within a cosmic whisker (350,000 miles) of Jupiter.

Jupiter from Voyager 2 (image credit: NASA)
Jupiter from Voyager 2 (image credit: NASA)

Several important discoveries were made during and after the approach, including three new moons (AdrasteaMetis and Thebe), the unexpectedly prolific volcanicity of Io, and several new rings to add to the Jovian collection. Jupiter’s rings are hard to spot at the best of times, as they are composed mostly of dust from the small moons Amalthea, Thebe, Metis and Adrastea.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (and the less great White Oval) from V2 (image credit: NASA)
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (and the less great White Oval) from V2 (image credit: NASA)

ALSO TODAY:

1879  —  Asteroid 199 Byblis was discovered by C H F Peters, named after a daughter of Miletus, who, according to Ovid, fell in love with her twin brother and chased him all over Greece.  A little bit unusual, even by the standards of Greek gods.

"Biblis" (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1825-1905)
“Biblis” (William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1825-1905)