In a delight for space enthusiasts, US space agency NASA’s Juno spacecraft has captured not one, not two but six breathtaking pictures of Jupiter’s poles. NASA has just released all these beautiful, finely detailed images of Jupiter.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been on its journey around the gas giant Jupiter for around five years. The JunoCam imager that sits atop the NASA Juno spacecraft has taken this path-breaking image.
The pictures reveal a swirling storm just south of the white oval storms on Jupiter. According to NASA, the picture dates back to March 27, 2017 at 2:12 am PDT (5:12am EDT), when the Juno probe took a close flyby of Jupiter. The NASA Juno spacecraft was 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) from the planet when the image was taken.
The colour and contrast in this image have been enhanced by citizen scientist Jason Major, which is why it looks like a Jovian work of art. The picture is cropped so as to highlight the stunning example of Jupiter’s spinning storms.
On July 4, 2016, NASA Juno spacecraft arrived in orbit around Jupiter. On March 27, it successfully completed its fifth flyby around Jupiter.
When NASA Juno spacecraft was performing the flyby, all its science instruments as well as the JunoCam were switched on so that it can collect data. The Juno probe is now beaming back that data to Earth. NASA Juno aircraft will perform its next flyby on May 19.
The JunoCam also gets guidance from public assistance. The public can register their participation by voting on which features on Jupiter should be imaged during each flyby.
"Juno is providing spectacular results, and we are rewriting our ideas of how giant planets work," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "The science will be just as spectacular as with our original plan."