NASA has revealed Juno’s newest images, showing Jupiter in stunning detail

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view as it closed in on Jupiter's north pole, about two hours before closest approach on Aug. 27, 2016.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view as it closed in on Jupiter's north pole, about two hours before closest approach on Aug. 27, 2016.

During the past several days, NASA has been rolling out the most detailed images of Jupiter we have ever seen. The Juno spacecraft made its closest flyby yet on August 27, 2016, managing to take some breathtaking pictures.

Juno was about 48,000 miles (78,000 kilometers) above Jupiter’s polar cloud tops when it captured this view, showing storms and weather unlike anywhere else in the solar system. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter planned during Juno’s mission (scheduled to end in February 2018). The August 27 flyby was the first time Juno had its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zoomed past.

As NASA’s Juno spacecraft closed in on Jupiter for its Aug. 27, 2016 pass, its view grew sharper and fine details in the north polar region became increasingly visible. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Among other things, NASA caught a close glimpse of Jupiter’s north polar region. Unlike the equatorial region’s familiar structure of belts and zones, the poles are mottled with rotating storms of various sizes, similar to giant versions of terrestrial hurricanes. Jupiter’s poles have not been seen from this perspective since the Pioneer 11 spacecraft flew by the planet in 1974.

But the footage from the southern hemisphere is nothing to sneeze at either. Juno caught a rare view of the southern aurora of Jupiter, which can hardly be seen from Earth due to our home planet’s position in respect to Jupiter’s south pole. Juno’s unique polar orbit provides the first opportunity to observe this region of the gas-giant planet in detail. It even recorded the radio signals from the auroras, which you simply cannot skip:

This image provides a close-up view of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on August 27, 2016. The JunoCam instrument captured this image with its red spectral filter when the spacecraft was about 23,600 miles (38,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
This image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft provides a never-before-seen perspective on Jupiter’s south pole. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

 

 

 

Michal Dudic

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