NASA's $1 Billion Jupiter Probe Just Sent Back Stunning New Photos Of The Gas Giant

Artist's impression of Jupiter's Clouds

Roll up, roll up, because it’s time for some more fantastic images from Jupiter! Boy, do we spoil you. Yes, the latest batch of processed images from the Juno spacecraft are in and, as usual, they’re splendidly fantastic. We’re treated to glorious swirling storms, amazing vistas of the planet, and more.

These images were taken during the Juno’s 13th science flyby of the gas giant. The spacecraft orbits the gas giant about every 54 days, going out to a few million kilometers before the swooping down over the poles of the planet at a distance of a few thousand kilometers.

Juno snaps images with its JunoCam instrument, which gives us detailed glimpses of the planet in visible light. It can take images with a resolution of about 15 kilometers per pixel, with the data stored in raw images before being sent back to Earth for processing.

This is mostly done by citizen scientists, who post their images on the JunoCam website. You can get involved too, and even suggest points of interest that you want the camera to look at.

NASA noted that this pass was “very challenging,” as Jupiter only entered JunoCam’s field of view just an hour before closest approach. There was an opportunity to snap a distant image of the volcanic moon Io on this pass, but that view has not yet been released. 

Juno’s primary mission around Jupiter is scheduled to end this July, after the spacecraft has performed some rather amazing science at Jupiter. The mission could be extended for several years though, if budgets permit.

For now, we’ll just have to make do with the latest and greatest snaps. Let’s take a look! One of them even appears to have an aurora hidden in it, see if you can spot which one...


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