A stunning new image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft has revealed a fresh look at the whirlpool of clouds high above Jupiter.
The spacecraft completed its 16th close flyby of the giant planet this past October, revealing some of our best glimpses yet at its fascinating atmospheric processes.
According to the space agency, the latest photo was captured during its closest approach of the flyby, at about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) above the cloud tops of Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt.
The image was taken just after 5:00 p.m. EDT on October 29th, during Juno’s 16th flyby.
At the time, NASA says Juno was ‘about as close to Jupiter as San Francisco is to Chicago.’ This, the agency notes, ‘is quite close when racing over a planet that’s 11 times wider than Earth.’
The image was processed by citizen scientist Björn Jónsson, who used data from the craft’s JunoCam to create the captivating color-enhanced view of the clouds.
Last week, NASA shared a look at another stunning feature spotted during Juno’s 16th flyby – a huge cloud that takes on the appearance of a dolphin.
The cloud was spotted amid bands of clouds spanning the planet’s southern hemisphere back in October, when Juno came about 11,400 to 31,700 miles (18,400 to 51,000 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops.
According to NASA, the images were taken between 5:26 p.m. and 5:46 p.m. ET on October 29.
They were later processed by citizen scientists Brian Swift and Seán Doran.
The image shows the ‘changing cloud formations across Jupiter’s southern hemisphere,’ NASA explains.
‘A cloud in the shape of a dolphin appears to be swimming through the cloud bands along the South Temperate Belt.’
The Juno mission has been churning out stunning photos of the gas giant planet ever since it arrived to its orbit in 2016.
Last month, NASA shared another look at its swirling clouds, which take on dream-like appearance of an oil painting. The photo showed storms in Jupiter’s dynamic North North Temperate Belt.
‘Appearing in the scene are several bright-white ‘pop-up’ clouds as well as an anticyclonic storm, known as a white oval,’ NASA said.
‘A multitude of magnificent, swirling clouds in Jupiter’s dynamic North North Temperate Belt are captured.’
It captures the intensity of the jets and vortices in Jupiter’s North North Temperate Belt. The clouds are likely made of ammonia-ice crystals, or possibly a combination of ammonia ice and water, NASA says.