NASA’s Juno spacecraft is busy collecting science data as well as stunning images of Jupiter and while all images reveal extensive details about the gaseous giant, there are times when citizen scientists beat the space agency to revealing hidden features in images.
One such instance occurred recently when Juno captured an amazing image of Jupiter and within that image a citizen scientist named Roman Tkachenko spotted a ‘Dark Spot’ on Jupiter after he enhanced the images using his skills.
The image was captured by JunoCam on Feb. 2, 2017, at 5:13 am PDT (8:13 a.m. EDT) from a distance of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above the giant planet’s cloud tops. While from the original image of Jupiter it was difficult to tell whether it was a dark storm, Tkachenko’s enhanced version of the image reveals rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds.
“Just south of the dark storm is a bright, oval-shaped storm with high, bright, white clouds, reminiscent of a swirling galaxy. As a final touch, he rotated the image 90 degrees, turning the picture into a work of art,” NASA added.
Fourth Science Pass
As scheduled, the Juno mission accomplished a close flyby of Jupiter on Monday, March 27, successfully completing its fourth science orbit. The close flyby was the fifth for Juno and the fourth science pass during which all of Juno’s science instruments and the spacecraft’s JunoCam were operating and collecting data. The data is now being downlinked from the spacecraft. Juno’s next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on May 19, 2017, NASA revealed.
At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno was about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops, traveling at a speed of about 129,000 miles per hour (57.8 kilometers per second) relative to the gas-giant planet.