NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures Amazing View of Jupiter’s Swirling Storms

What. A. View.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently flying away from the largest planet in our solar system has beamed back a stunning view of swirling storms on Jupiter.

The image sent back by the spacecraft shows supermassive storms and gigantic vortices engulfing the planet from an entirely new perspective.

The image, which shows a stunning alien world shows the planet’s swirling southern hemisphere.

According to NASA:

This color-enhanced image was taken at 7:13 p.m. PDT on Sept. 6, 2018 (10:13 p.m. EDT) as the spacecraft performed its 15th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 55,600 miles (89,500 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops, above a southern latitude of approximately 75 degrees.

The image posted by NASA was created by Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt from data obtained from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

As noted by the Space Agency, previously published images snapped by Juno concentrated on storms within Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. 

However, this new image offers a new way of exploring Jupiter, and its swirling southern hemisphere.

Jupiter in the Rearview Mirror. Image Credit: NASA / Juno / Gerald Eichstädt
Jupiter in the Rearview Mirror. Image Credit: NASA / Juno / Gerald Eichstädt

The Juno mission received an update this year as NASA has secured funding to keep the mission running until July of 2021.

“This provides for an additional 41 months in orbit around Jupiter and will enable Juno to achieve its primary science objectives,” NASA wrote on their website.

The spacecraft is currently in 53-day orbits rather than 14-day orbits as initially planned due to a concern about valves on the spacecraft’s fuel system.

This image captures swirling cloud belts and tumultuous vortices within Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. Image Credit: NASA / Juno / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
This image captures swirling cloud belts and tumultuous vortices within Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. Image Credit: NASA / Juno / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

53-day orbits mean that the spacecraft will take longer to gather its scientific data.

However, the most important part is that the spacecraft and all its instruments are in excellent health and functioning normally.

NASA’s Juno probe arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after making a five-year journey through the solar system, and crossing 2.8bn km in space.

Find out more about the Juno Spacecraft and its mission here.

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