Juno Mission

Another Juno Flyby, Another Amazing Sequence of Images of Jupiter

In July of 2016, the Juno spacecraft established orbit around Jupiter, becoming the first spacecraft since the Galileo probe to study the planet directly. Since that time, the probe has been sending back vital information about Jupiter’s atmosphere, magnetic field and weather patterns. With every passing orbit – known as perijoves, which take place every 53 days – the probe has revealed more exciting things about this gas giant.

In addition, each perijove has been an opportunity for Juno to snap pictures with its JunoCam. With the help of the public, these pictures have been processed and turned into stunning color-enhanced images. The latest image to be released, which was processed by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, provides a beautiful time-lapse sequence of atmospheric features in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere.

The atmospheric features highlighted in this image (from left to right) include the N5-AWO, the Little Red Spot, and the North North Temperate Band. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstäd/Seán Doran

The images were taken (from left to right) between 12:54 a.m. and 1:11 a.m. EDT on July 16th (9:54 p.m. and 10:11 p.m. PDT on July 15th) during the spacecraft’s 14th perijove maneuver. At the time, Juno was passing over Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, where its altitude ranged from about 25,300 to 6,200 km (15,700 to 3,900 mil) above the planet’s cloud tops.

Among them are the anticyclonic white oval (called N5-AWO), which can be seen at center left of the first image at far left and appears slightly higher in the second and third images. Then there is the Little Red Spot, a massive counterclockwise rotating storm that appears as a white oval in the gas giant’s southern hemisphere. The miniature version of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, this feature is apparent at the bottom of the second and third images.

Raw image taken by the JunoCam during Perijove 14 of Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, showing N5-AWO in the upper left corner. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS

Last, but not least, there is the North North Temperate Belt, a predominantly cyclonic feature that rotates in the same direction as the planet. This Belt appears as a reddish-orange band and is most prominently displayed in the fourth and fifth images.

Like all JunoCam raw pictures, the series of photos that went into making this image product are available for the public to peruse and process at the Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI) JunoCam page.

Raw image of Jupiter’s North North Temperate Band, acquired by the JunoCam during perijove 14. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS

Further Reading: NASA, SwRI

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is the Curator of Universe Today's Guide to Space. He is also a freelance writer, a science fiction author and a Taekwon-Do instructor. He lives with his family on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia.

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