This Is The Closest Look Mankind Has Ever Taken On Jupiter (11 pics + 1 gif)

Posted in   30 Mar 2017   / 4027 views  

NASA's $1 billion Juno spacecraft, launched in August 2011, took five years to reach and settle into orbit around the gas giant, which is more than 415 million miles from Earth. The probe is photographing Jupiter's poles for the first time, detecting bizarre cloud formations, recording mysterious auroras, and scanning deep into the planet's thick cloud tops, sending every piece of information it can get back to Earth.


This new image, processed by amateur astronomer Roman Tkachenko, shows Jupiter's north pole in all its stormy glory.

Another person processed the same raw image to show more green-colored details.

And here's a close-up of Jupiter's swirling cloud tops.

This shot, put together by Gervasio Robles, merges three Juno flyby images to show Jupiter's elusive south pole in full view.

Jason Major turned new image data into an animation that shows what it's like to zoom over Jupiter's north pole.

And Gerald Eichstädt merged all the images from the fifth flyby into a 3D animation that shows the whole trip from Juno's viewpoint.

Amateur astronomers have also been redeveloping older Juno images. These Jovian cloud-top images all came from the probe's fourth flyby, on February 2.

Juno's next flyby of Jupiter should happen around May 19.

But Juno won't fly forever.

NASA will plunge the spacecraft into Jupiter's clouds in 2018 or 2019. This will prevent it from spreading any bacteria from Earth on the gas giant's icy, ocean-filled moons like Europa and Ganymede.

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