Planetary maps

page by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 7 November 2010


These are some cylindrical maps I have variously modified from the originals which were produced by various planetary exploration missions and processed by people much more talented than me. The small maps below link to larger versions of the maps (1440x720 or 720x360). (In most cases I have used larger versions in the images on the previous page; if anyone is interested in a larger version they may contact me by e-mail.) I have also included links to the original source maps.

Some notes: with several maps, the originals were missing data in some regions and I have filled these with average colors from other regions. I have attempted to produce realistic maps, but these results are preliminary and they admittedly contain defects (which I point out below for specific maps). Also, superior maps in some cases are available on the internet (see the links on the previous page). The maps below are slightly "tweaked" from public domain maps, so these maps are public domain as well.


Sun (720x360)

This is an original map depicting the Sun in late October 2003. It is based on images and sketches using a pinhole-type projection of the Sun. The center of the map was approximately pointed Earthward on 31 October 2003.
Earth (1440x720)

This is NASA's "Blue Marble" Earth map, reduced in size. The original, larger versions of this map are available from the Visible Earth web site. This map was made from images taken June-September 2001. Map centered on 0° longitude.
Earth--last ice age (720x360)

This is a preliminary attempt at a map of the Earth during the last Ice Age (at about the last glacial maximum, 16,000 B.C.). The base map is a modern map of the Earth from the Visible Earth web site. From various sources ice caps and sea level changes are indicated; vegetation changes are only partly represented so far. Map centered on 0° longitude.
Earth--fully unglaciated (1440x720)

This is a work in progress intended to show the Earth as it would be if the remaining ice caps melted. Sea level would be about 66 meters higher, which is depicted. Isostatic rebound would leave most of Greenland above sea level, as show. Vegetation changes are not represented so far, and some some cover has yet to be removed. The base map is a modern map of the Earth from the Visible Earth web site. Sea level change is derived from USGS DEM maps. (Before anyone asks: this is not an outcome that can result from any modern human activity; probably 10,000 years of natural climatic warming would be required. See here for discussion.) Map centered on 0° longitude.
Earth--fully unglaciated, ocean mask (1440x720)

This is an ocean mask for the above map of the Earth fully free of glacial ice. This corresponds to sea level 66 meters above the current level, with Greenland adjusted for isostatic rebound and the sub-glacial topography of Antarctica included. Sea level change is based on USGS DEM files; Antarctic sub-glacial topography is based on Sugden, D. E., 1996, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 21:443-454.
Moon (1440x720)

This is an experimental attempt to colorize the black and white Clementine mosaic from the USGS. It still needs some work (some areas have a bit of an orange tint). Map is centered on 0 longitude, the point facing towards Earth (excepting librations).
Moon bump map (1440x720)

This is a new lunar topographic bump map from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter LOLA data, released in 2010. Map is centered on 0 longitude, the point facing towards Earth (excepting librations).
Mars--with clouds (1440x720)

This map is a reduced size version of a map from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter, available at the Mars Global Surveyor web site. It shows Mars on a day in April 1999, when it was summer in Mars' northern hemisphere. I have filled the area of missing data at the south pole with a neutral color. Map centered on 0° longitude.
Mars--with oceans (1440x720)

This map depicts a hypothetical Mars with oceans. The view could represent a stage of terraforming (not an early Mars, since the ocean areas do not correspond to such hypotheses). The base map is from the USGS Flagstaff web site, with oceans added based on elevation data from a USGS map at Solar Views and a cloud map modified from one at Visible Earth. Map centered on 180° longitude.
Mars--with past oceans (1440x720)

This map depicts a hypothetical former Mars with oceans. The area covered by oceans corresponds more to proposed past ocean areas, unlikely the preceding map. The base map is from the USGS Flagstaff web site, with oceans added based on bump map elevation data combined with hypothesized shore lines reviewed by Michael H. Carr and James W. Head III in "Oceans on Mars: an assessment of the observational evidence and possible fate," JGR, 108:E5:5042 (2003). Map centered on 180° longitude.
Vesta (720x360)

Here I have taken a partial map of Vesta from Hubble Space Telescope observations and filled the regions of missing data.
Eros (1440x720)

This is a reduced size version of a mosaic of asteroid (433) Eros from the Small Bodies Node of the NASA Planetary Data System. Their mosaic uses NEAR Shoemaker probe images.
Jupiter (1440x720)

The map is based on one from the Cassini web site. The original map was produced from images made by Cassini during its December 2001 flyby of Jupiter. Data was missing within 30° latitude of both poles. A nicer map based on Voyager images has been produced by Bj÷rn Jˇnsson.
Amalthea (720x360)

Starting with Philip J. Stooke's shaded relief map of Amalthea, I have added colors to mimick those in Voyager images. The colors and areas of bright albedo features (yellow) are not accurate, but at least give some idea of Amalthea's appearance. Amalthea is a very irregular satellite and the map should be applied to a shape model. Center of map is point facing away from Jupiter, 180° longitude.
Europa (1440x720)

This map is based on one from the USGS-Flagstaff web site. Their map is black-and-white and based on images from Voyagers 1 and 2 and Galileo. Data was missing from small regions near the north and south poles. I have used some color information from Bj÷rn Jˇnsson's new Europa map to colorize it, although my map here is not very accurate in terms of color or contrast levels. Bj÷rn Jˇnsson's is more accurate in this regard. Center of map is point facing away from Jupiter, 180° longitude.
Janus (720x360)

The original map of this satellite of Saturn was by A. Tayfun Oner, found at Views of the Solar System. I removed the grid lines and place names and colored the blank regions (I have done this principally for orienting myself when experimenting with renderings). Janus is an irregular satellite; this map must be applied to a shape model for meaningful results. Center of map is point facing away from Saturn, 180° longitude.
Rhea (1440x720)

This map is colorized from a photomosaic from the USGS. The coloring is an attempt to mimic the color in Voyager color images. Center of map is point facing towards Saturn, 0° longitude. This does not incorporate Cassini data, but other on line maps do.
Phoebe (720x360)

This is a rough attempt at a map of Phoebe, a satellite of Saturn. I combined reprojections of views from images at JPL. Center of map is 180° longitude. Note: the accuracy of image placement here is poor. Also, since Phoebe is irregular in shape a shape model is needed to accurately represent this moon. This map was superceded by a cylindrical map of Phoebe released by the Cassini imaging team in December 2005, available at the JPL Planetary Photojournal.
Miranda (1440x720)

For the map of this satellite of Uranus, I modified a black and white map from the JPL web site. It is colorized to approximate the color in a Voyager 2 image, and the northern hemisphere where data is missing has been changed to an average color. Center of map is point facing towards Uranus, 0° longitude.
Triton (1440x720)

This map of the largest satellite of Neptune started from an old version of A. Tayfun Oner's base map of Triton. I removed the latitude-longitude grid, and semi-arbitrarily colored the black area in the northern hemisphere where data was missing. The original map is based on images from Voyager 2 which appear not to be fully corrected for color and contrast differences. Center of map is point facing towards Neptune, 0° longitude. A version incorporating higher resolution data is available from S. Albers' website.
Pluto (720x360)

This preliminary map combines a Hubble Space Telescope-based map by Stern and Buie of Pluto with color information from Young, Binzel, and Crane. Center of map is point facing away from Charon, 180° longitude.
Pluto (720x360)

This second map combines a two-color Hubble Space Telescope-based map by Buie et al. of Pluto with the map from Young, Binzel, and Crane. Center of map is point facing Charon, 0° longitude. I have attempted to combine the two maps in a way that reproduces the color and albedo range on Pluto, but given that both maps are based on only two colors, this is only a guess.


By Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 7 November 2010.
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