Stare Straight Down Into a Giant Storm on Jupiter

A new batch of images recently arrived at Earth from JunoCam, the visible light camera on board the Juno spacecraft at Jupiter. The camera has provided stunning views of the gas giant world since the spacecraft’s arrival in 2016. Citizen scientists and imaging enthusiasts act as the camera’s virtual imaging team, participating in key steps of the process by making suggestions of areas on Jupiter to take pictures and doing the image editing work.

This lead image, edited by Kevin Gill, is another stunner: a look straight down into a giant storm.

And we like Kevin’s attitude about this whole process:

Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere looks like classic oil paintings in these images.

How big are these storms?

You can find all the raw data plus a gallery of processed images from people all around the world at the JunoCam website. Kevin Gill, one of our favorite image editing gurus, posts regularly on Twitter, and has a Flickr gallery of the work he’s done with data from Juno, the Mars rovers, and more, including his personal astrophotography and landscape images,

During it’s time in orbit, Juno has made discoveries about Jupiter’s interior structure, magnetic field, and magnetosphere, and has found its atmospheric dynamics to be far more complex than scientists previously thought.

The mission recently received an extension, with plans to keep Juno going until September 2025 – or however long the spacecraft can keep operating in the harsh environment around Jupiter.

While Juno has so far focused its attention on the giant planet alone, the mission extension will include observations of Jupiter’s rings and large moons, with targeted observations and close flybys planned of the moons Ganymede, Europa, and Io.

This will be the first close flybys of these moons since the Galileo mission in 1995-2003, so we are looking forward to more amazing images.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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