There’s a massive storm brewing on Jupiter and NASA’s Juno probe has captured it
The goal of Nasa’s Juno mission is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, the fifth planet in our solar system.science Updated: Nov 19, 2017 15:46 IST
Nasa’s Juno spacecraft beamed back a stunning image of a massive, raging storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, captured by the probe during its ninth close flyby of the gas giant planet.
The image was taken on October 24, when the spacecraft was about 10,108 kilometres away from the tops of the clouds of Jupiter.
The colour-enhanced images shows a storm rotating counter-clockwise with a wide range of cloud altitudes.
The darker clouds are expected to be deeper in the atmosphere than the brightest clouds.
Within some of the bright “arms” of this storm, smaller clouds and banks of clouds can be seen, some of which are casting shadows.
The bright clouds and their shadows range from about seven to 12 kilometres in both widths and lengths.
These appear similar to the small clouds in other bright regions Juno has detected and are expected to be updrafts of ammonia ice crystals possibly mixed with water ice.
Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstadt and Seán Doran processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager, NASA said. Eichstadt and Doran are among a band of space enthusiasts who turn JunoCam’s grainy images into these stunning portraits. They stitch images together, colour correct and brighten the images -- the process takes a long time since JunoCam takes images in narrow strips.
When Nasa is impressed is by these images -- such as in this case -- it shares them on its official feed.
This animation derived from JunoCam images was shared by Eichstadt on September 11 this year on his YouTube channel:
Nasa’s Juno mission arrived on Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The goal of the mission is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, look for solid planetary core, map magnetic field, measure water and ammonia in deep atmosphere and observe auroras.
You can find out more about the JunoCam on its website.