The Juno probe, which examined Jupiter, took this picture of the gas giant's clouds on October 29, 2018.
Picture credits: Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran / NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS
NASA is back to one of their favorite hobbies – beyond the cloud world – thanks to the Juno probe, which is currently in orbit around Jupiter.
The Juno probe, orbiting our biggest neighbor since July 2016, is packed with scientific tools designed to uncover some of the gas giant's biggest secrets. However, it also includes a camera based on public input.
The voices of the community have resulted in incredible photos like this, taken at 4:58 pm on October 29th. EDT (2158 GMT). At that time, the spacecraft was heading its 16th scale over Jupiter's surface and was only 7,000 kilometers from the top of Jupiter's cloud system. (Images are also processed by the community, not by NASA.)
On twitterNASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory called the atmospheric display a dragon's eye. The photo shows a region that scientists have called Jupiter's North North Temperate Belt. The large white oval is a kind of atmospheric knot called the anticyclonic storm. This means that winds on the outer edge of the storm are blowing in opposite directions to the surrounding air mass. Even smaller cloud structures can be seen.
This is not the only anticyclical storm on Jupiter; a photo taken on September 6 shows a similar structure in the southern hemisphere of the gas giant.
At the beginning of the year, NASA extended the Juno mission. The probe will now remain in orbit in summer 2021. However, this reflects the fact that the spacecraft could not maneuver into a shorter orbit, but on a wider orbit that only covered Jupiter every 53 days. With the expansion, the spacecraft can complete the same number of orbits as originally planned.