Jupiter Viewer for New Horizons Help

This form enables you to generate a Postscript file showing the appearance of the Jupiter system at a specified time. All bodies are rendered with terminators and shadows as appropriate. Selected background stars can also be included.

In the diagram, Jupiter and the moons are modeled as triaxial ellipsoids, and are drawn with latitude and longitude contours at 15 degree intervals. Illuminated regions are indicated with black lines; unilluminated regions and terminators are shown as light gray. Penumbral shadows are not indicated.

Optionally, the main and gossamer rings are also drawn. The rings are are shown in black if illuminated and in gray if not or if the opposite side is illuminated. The main ring is shown by its inner and outer boundaries; the gossamer ring is shown by separate Amalthea and Thebe rings, each indicated by a pair of dashed lines at the ring's upper and lower vertical limits.

The diagram is oriented with J2000 declination increasing upward and with right ascension increasing to the left. The frame has uniformly-spaced tick marks along each axis. The declination axis is labeled in degrees, minutes and seconds; the right ascension axis is labeled in hours, minutes and seconds.

Each diagram includes a caption that summarizes the key parameters used to generate it.

Limitations. The outer irregular satellites of Jupiter are not shown.

Change History

1.0 (February 19, 2003): Original Jupiter Viewer for New Horizons adapted from Jupiter Viewer.
1.1 (January 13, 2004): Added choice of trajectories based on launch date.
1.2 (February 6, 2006): Updated with the official post-launch trajectory.
1.3 (December 1, 2009): Updated the default ephemerides. To reduce confusion, we have removed the choice about what ephemeris to use.
2.8 (January 23, 2013): Alternative pre-launch trajectory options have been removed. Version renumbered for consistency among all Planet Viewer tools. Ephemeris updates.

Observation Time

The observation time (UTC) can be entered in a variety of formats. For example, the following all parse to 0:01:02 UTC on July 4, 1976: If you want the gory details of how times are interpreted, click here.

Field of View

Enter the field of view of the drawing to be generated and select the appropriate units. Units can be seconds of arc (the default), Jupiter radii, kilometers (projected at the distance to Jupiter), or the fields of view of the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini cameras.

Trajectory Options

Trajectory options have been removed. Only the final, as-flown trajectory is available.

Diagram Center

Four different methods of specifying the diagram center are supported. Click on the box to the left of the option you wish to use.

Body: The diagram will be centered on the location of the selected body.

Ring ansa: The diagram will be centered on the ansa of the selected ring. Specify the east or west ansa using the second box. Note that east is toward the left in the diagram.

J2000 RA and dec: The diagram will be centered on the specified pair of right ascension and declination coordinates. The first box is for the RA and the second box is for the dec. You may also specify whether the RA is in units of hours or degrees. Enter up to three values in each box, separated by spaces; these values are interpreted as degrees/hours, minutes and seconds, respectively. Any or all values can have fractional parts.

Star name: Enter the name of a star as it appears in the current list. The name must match exactly.

Moon Selection

You can decide which moons to include in the diagram. At minimum, the Galilean satellites Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are included. Use the boxes to the left of the list to choose the smallest set of moons to include. Note that, whatever your choice, the moons appearing above it in the list will also be shown. You may also click a separate checkbox to include the largest two irregular moons, Himalia and Elara.

Ring Selection

You can decide which ring to include in the diagram, if any. Click on the box to the left to show the main ring or the gossamer rings. The gossamer rings are indicated by pairs of dashed lines above and below the ring plane to indicate these rings' physical thickness.

Optionally, you can include a rendering of the Io torus by checking the associated box. If selected, the torus is shown as a dashed line. In the adjacent text boxes you can enter the desired inclination and radius; default values correspond to the centrifugal equator at Io's orbit. An inclination of zero corresponds to the equatorial plane and an inclination of 9.6 degrees corresponds to the magnetic equator.

Background Objects

You have several independent options for including background objects in the diagrams. These options make it possible to render diagrams around the times of stellar or spacecraft occultations. Objects are marked by pluses and are labeled by name if the Moon & Star Labels option is activated.

Standard stars: Check the box to include any of a standard list of stars that happen to fall inside the field of view of the diagram. The Jupiter Viewer does not access a star catalog; instead, it only plots stars from a finite list. To view the current star list, click here. This list is updated periodically at the request of the users; if you would like to have a star added to the list, email the necessary information to Mark Showalter.

Additional star: In addition to or instead of the standard stars, you can specify one additional star to be included in the diagram. Check the box to the left and enter the star's RA, dec, and name in the three boxes. You may also specify whether the RA is in units of hours or degrees. Enter up to three values in the RA and dec boxes, separated by spaces; the values are interpreted as hours/degrees, minutes and seconds, respectively. Any or all values can have fractional parts.

Other bodies: Check each box to mark the location of the specified body or spacecraft in the diagram.


Enter a title for the plot in this box. It will appear centered above the diagram.

Moon and Star Labels

Optionally, the diagram will be generated with the name of each moon and star written above and to the right of its center. You may select the size of these labels in points, where a point is 1/72 inches.

Moon Enlargement

The diagram is rendered to scale, which means that some of the smallest Jovian moons may be very hard to see. You may enter a minimum plotted size for moons in this box. If a nonzero value is used, the smallest moons will be easier to see. The size is in units of points, equal to 1/72 inches. A value of ~4 may be appropriate.
New Horizons Jupiter Viewer Form | Rings Node Tools | Rings Node Home

Last updated 23 January 2013.

Mark Showalter