Home » NASA’s $1 billion Jupiter’s majestic photos of the giant planet and its Great Red Spot

NASA’s $1 billion Jupiter’s majestic photos of the giant planet and its Great Red Spot

by Alien UFO Sightings
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Once every 53.5 days, NASA’s Juno probe screams over Jupiter’s cloud tops roughly 75 times as fast as a bullet.

The spacecraft has used these high-speed flybys, called perijoves, to document the gas giant like never before since August 2016. It records the planet with radar systems, radiation detectors, magnetic and gravitational field recorders, and more.

But NASA’s beautiful new images of Jupiter come from an optical camera called JunoCam. After each perijove, the space agency uploads the raw photo data to its websites.

Juno finished its 12th perijove on April 1. Since then, people around the world have downloaded JunoCam’s raw black-and-white data, processed it into stunning color pictures, and shared the files for all to see.

“Jupiter is in constant flux so it’s always a surprise to see what is going on in those cloudscapes,” Seán Doran, a graphic artist and a prolific processor of JunoCam images, told Business Insider in an email. He added that it can take hours to complete a single image.

Here are some of the most dazzling portraits of Jupiter — and its shrinking Great Red Spot super-storm — that Doran and others have created in the past week.

Juno makes a highly elliptical orbit over Jupiter’s poles. It’s a compromise between getting unprecedented new data and staying out of the planet’s intense radiation fields.

During each perijove, which lasts a few hours, the JunoCam instrument uses a “push-broom” technique to snap a series of photos of the planet…

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 39406285760_bc7d41cb69_k

… Creating a zoom-in, zoom-out effect when looked at in sequence (from the world’s north pole to its south pole).

planet jupiter great red spot series juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran

Juno beams the raw data to Earth as hazy black-and-white layers that represent red, blue, and green.

planet jupiter great red spot juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41292479251_ed755b3feb_k

The layers can then be merged and processed into stunning planetary portraits, like this shot of Jupiter’s north pole.

Juno last saw the Great Red Spot, which could easily contain planet Earth, in July 2017, during its seventh perijove.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri kevin m gill 27369740758_49191662c7_k

While the probe didn’t fly directly overhead this time, as it did last year, the latest images are nonetheless breathtaking.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41252320871_0c8ba9fc6d_o

This one, processed by Doran, makes it look like Jupiter has an leering ruddy-red eye.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 39446518310_521135ce70_o

Smaller red storm cells are visible in a darker band near the Great Red Spot.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 40369537115_448ae4e061_o

This wider-angle image, processed by NASA software engineer Kevin M. Gill, shows other small red storms.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss kevin m gill 27474452718_100390adf4_k

Gill also shared this image of a giant white storm on Jupiter, which NASA officially calls “anticyclonic white oval WS-4.”

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri kevin m gill 40484759574_5e642e3c1b_k

Here’s the strange feature in more detail.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41236564252_936c318a3a_o

Other close-up photos show a mess of turbulence in clouds near the Great Red Spot.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41235797732_fe677a88a0_o

Near Jupiter’s poles, the patterns of storms are especially wild.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 40565778874_b83d478c41_o

Chemicals like ammonia, which float high into Jupiter’s cloud tops, help give many polar storms on the planet a blue-green hue.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41236596432_440a450d58_o

Source: Planetary Weather

The details of clouds captured by JunoCam during its closest approaches are equally mesmerizing.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 40561284364_4d150ee5c7_o

Juno passes within a few thousand miles of Jupiter’s cloud tops at each perijove’s closest approach. During this maneuver, the probe reaches a speed of about 130,000 mph.

planet jupiter juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 41275764381_094b299d5a_o

JunoCam takes several images of the regions it passes during each perijove. Doran and his collaborator Gerald Eichstädt recently figured out how to turn those series of photos into animations that show swirling, brewing storms over time.

They’re learning other new tricks, too, and using them on older JunoCam data. This image shows how several different photos of the Great Red Spot in July 2017 were stitched together.

planet jupiter grat red spot stitching juno perijove 12 april 2018 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran

Doran said such composite images “afford us a wider and more complete view of certain regions on Jupiter than is possible with just one image.”

Here’s the finished, fully processed version of that image.

planet jupiter juno perijove 7 july 2017 nasa jpl msss swri gerald eichstaedt sean doran 27443843758_8caee955e1_o

Björn Jónsson created this image of Jupiter’s bizarre north pole using a combination of photos from Juno’s first, third, fourth, and fifth perijoves. In addition to JunoCam data, he incorporated images from the probe’s aurora-mapping instrument, called JIRAM.

planet jupiter juno perijoves 1 3 4 5 2017 2018 nasa jpl msss swri msss asi inaf jiram  bjorn jonsson

Juno’s primary mission is slated to end after its 14th perijove, on July 16, 2018. However, NASA may extend the mission by two or three years, pending a review.

juno orbit jupiter radiation belts nasa jpl
An illustration of NASA’s Juno spacecraft flying through the radiation belts of Jupiter. 

A representative for the Juno mission at NASA did not respond to Business Insider’s questions about the plan for the probe after its last scheduled perijove.

However, NASA will ultimately destroy Juno by plunging into the clouds of Jupiter. The reason? The space agency doesn’t want the probe to crash into the planet’s icy moon Europa.

europa jupiter ice moon half hemisphere 2x1 nasa jpl galileo pia19048
Jupiter’s moon Europa. 

Source: Business Insider

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