NASA’s $1 Billion Jupiter Probe Just Sent Back Stunning New Photos of Jupiter

NASA’s $1 Billion Jupiter Probe Just Sent Back Stunning New Photos of Jupiter

Traveling above Jupiter at more than 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s $1 billion Juno probe took its ninth set of stunning flyby images on October 24. But the sun slipped between the giant planet and Earth for more than a week, blocking the spacecraft from beaming home its precious bounty of data. Now that the conjunction is over, however,

Traveling above Jupiter at more than 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s $1 billion Juno probe took its ninth set of stunning flyby images on October 24. But the sun slipped between the giant planet and Earth for more than a week, blocking the spacecraft from beaming home its precious bounty of data.

Now that the conjunction is over, however, new raw image data from Juno’s ninth perijove — as the spacecraft’s high-speed flybys are called — has poured in. Researchers posted it all online on Tuesday, and a community of amateurs and professionals has been busily processing the data to yield colorful and stunning new pictures of Jupiter.

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“Brand new Jupiter pics from @NASAJuno Perijove 09! What a blimmin’ gorgeous/diabolical planet,” Seán Doran, a UK-based graphic artist who regularly processes NASA images, tweeted on Tuesday.

Below are some fresh, close-up images of Jupiter, along with other unbelievable views captured from earlier perijoves.

 

In the most recent flyby, as with the previous eight, Juno’s flyby started over Jupiter’s north pole.

In the most recent flyby, as with the previous eight, Juno's flyby started over Jupiter's north pole.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

The spacecraft then swept within a few thousand miles of the gas giant, capturing stunning high-resolution views of its cloud tops.

The spacecraft then swept within a few thousand miles of the gas giant, capturing stunning high-resolution views of its cloud tops.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major

At its closest approach to Jupiter during each flyby, the robot briefly becomes the fastest human-made object in the solar system, reaching speeds of around 130,000 miles per hour.

Then Juno flew back out into deep space, passing over Jupiter’s south pole on its exit. Churning storms at the poles constantly change their appearance.

Then Juno flew back out into deep space, passing over Jupiter's south pole on its exit. Churning storms at the poles constantly change their appearance.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Researchers upload the raw data sent by the probe to the mission’s website.

Researchers upload the raw data sent by the probe to the mission's website.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

There, enthusiasts take the drab, mostly gray image data and process it all into true-to-life color photos.

There, enthusiasts take the drab, mostly gray image data and process it all into true-to-life color photos.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Many snapshots of Jupiter take on an artistic quality.

Many snapshots of Jupiter take on an artistic quality.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Others dazzle with their detail of the planet’s thick cloud bands and powerful storms.

Others dazzle with their detail of the planet's thick cloud bands and powerful storms.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Some of the tempests are large enough to swallow planet Earth — or at least a good chunk of it.

Some of the tempests are large enough to swallow planet Earth — or at least a good chunk of it.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

The planet’s atmosphere is a turbulent mess of hydrogen and helium gases.

The planet's atmosphere is a turbulent mess of hydrogen and helium gases.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

There are also traces of molecules like ammonia, methane, sulfur, and water, which give the clouds different colors and properties.

There are also traces of molecules like ammonia, methane, sulfur, and water, which give the clouds different colors and properties.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

The mixture sometimes creates features that look like faces (as seen on the left in this image).

The mixture sometimes creates features that look like faces (as seen on the left in this image).

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Other times, shining-white clouds fill up most of a band.

Other times, shining-white clouds fill up most of a band.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others.

Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

In this older view of Jupiter, from Juno’s eighth perijove, two cloud bands battle for dominance — one of which contains a swirling storm many times larger than a hurricane on Earth.

In this older view of Jupiter, from Juno's eighth perijove, two cloud bands battle for dominance — one of which contains a swirling storm many times larger than a hurricane on Earth.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

The spacecraft will continue to document Jupiter for as long as NASA can keep it going. But not forever.

 

The spacecraft will continue to document Jupiter for as long as NASA can keep it going. But not forever.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Source: Sci-Tech Universe

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