Once every 53.3 days, NASA’s Juno probe swings around Jupiter on an elliptical orbit. Its trajectory allows for gorgeous photos of the gas giant to be taken, and the latest to have been shared are stunning.
On February 7, at 9:36 ET, the $1 billion probe made its eleventh close pass (or perijove) to Jupiter. As it hurled through space at approximately 130,000 miles per hour, it snapped awe-inspiring photos of the planet.
It takes days (and sometimes weeks) for all of the raw image data to be beamed back to Earth, but the wait is worth it. As Business Insider reports, the data is always posted to a special website where science and art enthusiasts can take the black-and-white files and turn them into stunning color pictures. The photographs are then uploaded to the site for all to admire.
Following are 10+ of the best images from Juno’s latest orbit:
The Juno probe was launched on August 5, 2011. It took nearly five years for the probe to reach Jupiter’s orbit.
Because radiation fields around Jupiter are intense, they can damage electronics. This is why NASA set Juno on a course to ensure it spends as little time as possible close to the planet.
The fly-by (or perijove) occurs every 53.5 days — the length of the probe’s orbit around Jupiter.
In this image, a solitary and unusually bright cloud is caught in a mega-storm.
Juno is the first — and only — spacecraft to orbit Jupiter.
Storms (some the size of Earth’s continents or oceans) are found near Jupiter’s poles.
The data from Juno is posted to a special website where science and art enthusiasts can take the black-and-white files and turn them into stunning color pictures. The photographs are then uploaded to the site for all to admire.
People process the images in their own preferred style. Sometimes, the contrast is reduced, giving Jupiter a softer look.
Other times, the chaos on Jupiter’s surface is highlighted.
Data obtained by Juno is helping researchers learn about the formation and evolution of the planet’s cloud features, which are predominantly composed of hydrogen and helium.
They are also researching the Great Red Spot, which is shrinking. In fact, the phenomenon may vanish within one or two decades.
h/t Business Insider
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