NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently completed its fifth flyby of Jupiter and its fourth science pass and as the spacecraft continues to collect vital data about the planet, it is also beaming back stunning imagery of the gas giant for all of us here on Earth.
The latest set of imagery shows off Jupiter as grabbed from a number of different view points. According to NASA some of the images were captured by Juno’s JunoCam when the spacecraft was some 4,400 kms above the planet’s cloud top and was travelling at a speed of 57.8 km/s relative to the Jupiter. In the images, JunoCam highlighted the obscure auroras and unique cloud formations of the planet. Some of the images released by NASA were captured by Juno when it was still approaching Jupiter.
“Juno is providing spectacular results, and we are rewriting our ideas of how giant planets work,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “The science will be just as spectacular as with our original plan.”
Recently Juno completed its fifth flyby of Jupiter. The Juno science team continues to analyze returns from previous flybys. Scientists have discovered that Jupiter’s magnetic fields are more complicated than originally thought, and that the belts and zones that give the planet’s cloud tops their distinctive look extend deep into the its interior. Observations of the energetic particles that create the incandescent auroras suggest a complicated current system involving charged material lofted from volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io.
Peer-reviewed papers with more in-depth science results from Juno’s first flybys are expected to be published within the next few months.