The NASA Juno spacecraft has beamed back a wealth of information on our solar system’s largest planet and captured breathtaking images of the cloud canopy that is home to some of the largest and most violent storms in our galaxy.
The Juno spacecraft was conducting its ninth flyby of the gas giant at an altitude of some 11,747 miles (18,906 kilometers) from the tops of Jupiter’s clouds on October 24. For context, that is roughly the distance between New York City and Perth, Australia.
Juno captured these stunning images of a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. The image resolution is roughly 7.75 miles/pixel (12.5 kilometers/pixel).
Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran put a lot of work into processing the incredible images.
Juno was launched on August 5, 2011 and arrived at Jupiter nearly five years later in July, 2016. The craft will conduct 12 close flybys in total to discover more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. It is due to complete its mission in July 2018, and may suffer a similar, fiery end as its cousin spacecraft Cassini. There is a possibility that NASA will extend the mission, however.
Juno’s next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on December 16.