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Atlas of the Galilean Satellites

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  • 795 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 406 pages
  • Size: 276 x 240 mm
  • Weight: 1.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 523.9/850223
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: QB404 .S43 2010
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Galilean satellites--Pictorial works
    • Galilean satellites--Maps
    • Jupiter (Planet)--Satellites--Pictorial works
    • Jupiter (Planet)--Satellites--Maps

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521868358)

  • Also available in Adobe eBook
  • Published September 2010

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Atlas of the Galilean Satellites
Cambridge University Press
9780521868358 - Atlas of the Galilean Satellites - By Paul Schenk

Atlas of the Galilean Satellites

Complete color global maps and high-resolution mosaics of Jupiter's four large moons – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto – are compiled for the first time in this important atlas.

The satellites are revealed as four visually striking and geologically diverse planetary bodies: Io's volcanic lavas and plumes and towering mountains; Europa's fissured ice surface; the craters, fractures and polar caps of Ganymede; and the giant impact basins, desiccated plains and icy pinnacles of Callisto.

Featuring images taken from the pathfinding Voyager and the recent Galileo orbiter missions, this atlas is a comprehensive mapping reference guide for researchers. It contains 65 global and regional maps, nearly 250 high-resolution mosaics, and images taken at resolutions as high as 6 meters.

Paul Schenk is a Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, where he specializes in impact craters and other features on icy satellites, and in 3-D imaging. He is currently analyzing released Cassini data of the icy satellites of Saturn, and assisting the New Horizons team plan their encounter with Pluto in 2015.

Atlas of the Galilean Satellites

Paul Schenk

Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© P. Schenk 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataSchenk, Paul M.Atlas of the Galilean satellites / Paul Schenk.p. cm.ISBN 978-0-521-86835-8 (hardback)1. Galilean satellites–Atlases. I. Title.QB404.S43 2010523.9′850223–dc222009042291

ISBN 978-0-521-86835-8 Hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

I dedicate this Atlas to Alice and Bernard, Carl Seyfert, William McKinnon and David Bonett, Pup, and lastly Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet, 1956), for that immortal refrain, “Sorry, miss, I was giving myself an oil job.”


1             Introduction
1.1           The revolutionary importance of the Galilean satellites
1.2           Post-discovery
1.3           Voyager and Galileo: Global mapping begins
2             Format of the Atlas
2.1           Nomenclature
3             Making the maps
3.1           Image calibration and quality
3.2           Cartographic control and geometric registration
3.3           Putting it all together
3.4           True colors
4             Geology of the Galilean satellites: An introduction to the images
4.1           The importance of being ice
4.2           Volcanism (and against cryo-ism!)
4.3           Tectonism (and tides)
4.4           Viscous relaxation
4.5           Other global effects
4.6           Polar processes and ice segregation
4.7           Impact cratering: Planetary chronometer and window on the interior
5             The satellites
5.1           Callisto
5.2           Ganymede
5.3           Europa
5.4           Io
6             One big happy . . .
6.1           Why explore Jupiter?
6.2           The future
Plates        Atlas of the Galilean Satellites55
Appendix 1:   Glossary
Appendix 2:   Supplemental readings
Appendix 3:   Index maps of high-resolution images
Appendix 4:   Data tables
Appendix 5:   Nomenclature gazetteer


This Atlas is not what it should be. If fate had been kinder, each of the four planetary bodies represented here would have had its own Atlas, each larger than this volume. Don't blame the author, though; the culprit is an elegant yet critical device called the HGA, explained in Chapter 1.3. Should you pass over this book on your way to the used “pilates-at-home” bookshelf or toss it in the recycle paper bin? I hope not. Despite its shortcomings, this Atlas is the most complete representation we will have of the surfaces of Jupiter's large Galilean satellites for the next decade, objects that should be called planets, regardless of anyone's peculiar definition of that term.

Complex in detail and beautiful in a universe of wonders, the Galilean satellites fill the eye and mind in equal measure. They are also of considerable historical importance. My place in their history begins in 1972, the year I entered high school. A notice in the Buffalo Evening News announced the hiring of a manager to lead a new Mariner mission to the outer planets and their moons. At the time, these worlds were little more than dusky points of light. The Voyager mission, as it came to be called, was in reality a poor-cousin replacement for the Grand Tour, an ambitious plan to tour the entire Outer Solar System with a fleet of spacecraft.

Younger than NASA by only 31 days, I followed the USA into space along with Walter Cronkite and Jules Bergman on live TV, collecting newspaper and magazine clippings (the Internet was two decades away, information flowed a little more slowly). As awesome as the Apollo landings were to watch (I was but 10 years old), and the first Mars pictures of huge volcanoes and canyons that followed, it was the cold distant giant planets and especially their unfamiliar moons that were the great frontier of my imagination. The two Voyager spacecraft, launching in 1977, were the first true exploration of this frontier.

In 1979, I joined the Voyager mission as one of three NASA summer interns (Figure i). I arrived at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena two weeks before the Voyager 2 encounter with Jupiter and entered the beehive known as Science Investigation Support Team on the third floor of Bldg. 264. There I met Ellis Miner, Jude Montalbano, Linda (Horn) Spilker, and a bunch of crazy wonderful people supremely dedicated to the success of the project. Each day Jupiter appeared a little bit bigger in our TV monitors until the crescendo on July 9th. A highlight would be the first high-resolution views of Europa, which appeared on our monitors at about noon as I recall. It was a unique experience never repeated. JPL employees and scientists alike witnessed exploration live on TV as Voyager images were displayed in real time. For me there was no looking back from that rapturous summer.

Image not available in HTML version
Figure i The author, beardless, standing behind Dr. Ed Stone, Voyager Project Scientist, looks on dispassionately during a daily situation briefings during the heady days of Jupiter encounter, July 1979. Why a lowly summer intern was allowed into such important meetings I'll never know! I can no longer recall the subject that captured Dr. Stone's attention that day. That's a fuzzy Dr. Lonnie Lane in the far right foreground.

This Atlas represents three decades of personal effort invested in these planetary bodies since 1979. It came into being because of the work I have been doing mapping the topography of these worlds. In the course of that work I accumulated knowledge of the geography of these worlds and a library of images representing their surfaces that are unavailable anywhere else. It was time to assemble that knowledge in one place and “tell the world.” The digital images used in the Atlas were produced using software mostly developed at the US Geologic Survey in Flagstaff, AZ, and maintained by the staff of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, to all of whom I am indebted. However, image selection, geometric control and registration, mosaic and map formatting, and all other aspects of map production are the sole responsibility of the author.

The purpose of the Atlas is to present the collective imaging data set for these satellites as currently possessed by the human race in the year 2009 in a compact complete format. (New Horizons data from the Jupiter system are being processed as of this writing but nowhere exceed Voyager or Galileo coverage in resolution.) Brief descriptions are included to explain the nature of the images, introduce key topics, and provide context for the maps and images and some of the important features shown. But the basic goal here is to show the pictures, not to present an extended discourse on planetary geology or geophysics.

I have experienced my fair share of scientific insights, those unique exhilarating moments when seemingly disparate ideas or data merge into a unifying concept previously unknown. Many of those are described here, including plate tectonics and polar wander on Europa, mountain formation on Io, crater chains on Callisto formed by disrupted comets, among others. As a result, the text tends to be biased toward my own perspective, for which I make no apologies. Although I endeavor to reflect our current best understanding of the evolution of these bodies, the text simply cannot be regarded as complete, fair, or perfect, for the pen had to be put down at some point. (Please report errors to Indeed it may not matter much as some, or perhaps most, of the details or even the basic outline of their planetary histories are likely different in reality than described here. Paraphrasing Dr. Morbius, “My evil self is at the keyboard, and I have no power to stop it!”

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