The Juno spacecraft observes the intricate colors and swirl patterns of Jupiter's clouds as it completes its 43rd close flyby on July 5, 2022

NASA’s Juno probe takes a stunning photo of Jupiter, revealing the planet’s true colors

NASA’s probe has captured stunning new images of Jupiter that show the gas giant’s “true color.”

The Juno spacecraft observed intricate patterns of colors and swirls in the planet’s clouds as it completed its 43rd close flyby on July 5.

The raw images taken by the JunoCam instrument were made available to the public, at which point software engineer Björn Jónsson stepped in.

Mr. Jónsson processed an image to depict the approximate colors the human eye would see from Juno’s vantage point.

He then created another, using the same data, with increased saturation and contrast to make the view of Jupiter sharper and more colorful.

The Juno spacecraft observes the intricate colors and swirl patterns of Jupiter’s clouds as it completes its 43rd close flyby on July 5, 2022

Approximate true color and contrast image of Jupiter processed by Björn Jónsson from the PJ44_46 raw image frame generated by NASA's JunoCam instrument.North is up

Approximate true color and contrast image of Jupiter processed by Björn Jónsson from the PJ44_46 raw image frame generated by NASA’s JunoCam instrument.North is up

Enhanced image of Jupiter processed by Björn Jónsson from the PJ43_41 raw image frame generated by NASA's JunoCam. Contrast and color saturation are improved, and small-scale features are sharpened. Special processing is also used to reduce compression artifacts and noise in the images.North is up

Enhanced image of Jupiter processed by Björn Jónsson from the PJ43_41 raw image frame generated by NASA’s JunoCam. Contrast and color saturation are improved, and small-scale features are sharpened. Special processing is also used to reduce compression artifacts and noise in the images.North is up

Jupiter: Fundamentals

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest planet in our solar system.

It’s a huge ball of gas, mostly composed of hydrogen and helium, along with some heavier elements.

“Jupiter’s familiar streaks and swirls are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium,” NASA said.

“Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a massive storm larger than Earth that has been wreaking havoc for hundreds of years.”

The planet is twice the size of the other planets combined, and the Great Red Spot alone is large enough to hold the entire interior of Earth.

NASA’s Juno orbiter is currently exploring the planet.

distance from the sun: 750 million kilometers

orbital period: 12 years

surface area: 61.42 billion square kilometers

radius: 69,911 km

Lots of: 1.898 × ​​10^27 kg (317.8 M⊕)

length of day: 0d 9h 56m

moon: 53 have official names; countless additional small satellites

When the instrument passed, it was about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, about 50 degrees latitude.

The spacecraft is traveling at about 130,000 mph (209,000 km/h) relative to Earth.

Mr. Jónsson, a citizen scientist who describes himself as an advanced amateur planetary imager, has managed to map the structure of Jupiter’s clouds.

When he increased color saturation and contrast, small-scale features were sharpened while reducing any compression artifacts and noise.

The change in color is caused by the different chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

The images he processed also showed the three-dimensional nature of Jupiter’s giant vortex, as well as the smaller, brighter “pop-up” clouds that form in the higher parts of the atmosphere.

After a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile (2.8 billion km) journey from Earth, the Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit, flying within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) of Earth’s rotating cloud tops.

The probe skims every two weeks at a distance of just 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) from Earth’s clouds — too close to provide global coverage in a single image.

No spacecraft has ever orbited so close to Jupiter before, although two others have crashed through its atmosphere.

NASA is promoting the new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured stunning auroras around Jupiter’s north and south poles.

As Jupiter rotates, it drags the magnetic field that is bombarded by particles of the solar wind, causing fluctuations in the auroras.

It’s a similar process to how the solar wind produces fantastic auroras on Earth.

When Mr. Jónsson increases color saturation and contrast, small-scale features are sharpened while reducing any compression artifacts and noise

When Mr. Jónsson increases color saturation and contrast, small-scale features are sharpened while reducing any compression artifacts and noise

In addition to the glowing poles, the images show incredible detail of the turbulent atmosphere, rings around the planet and some of Jupiter’s 79 moons glowing around the giant planet.

Astronomers working with JWST were equally astonished to see the stunning detail in the images, and astronomer Imke de Pater said he and the team did not expect the results to be so good.

“It’s really remarkable that we can see details of Jupiter and its rings, tiny moons and even galaxies in one image,” said UC Berkeley professor emeritus Depeter.

The images were taken with the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which detects infrared light from the earliest stars and galaxies.

NASA is promoting the new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured stunning auroras around Jupiter's north and south poles.A separate image of Jupiter (pictured) is a composite of multiple images showing the auroras blowing in bright oranges, yellows and greens over Jupiter's north and south poles

NASA is promoting the new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured stunning auroras around Jupiter’s north and south poles.A separate image of Jupiter (pictured) is a composite of multiple images showing the auroras blowing in bright oranges, yellows and greens over Jupiter’s north and south poles

How NASA’s Juno spacecraft to Jupiter will reveal the secrets of the solar system’s largest planet

Juno probe reaches Jupiter in 2016 after a 5-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth

Juno probe reaches Jupiter in 2016 after a 5-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth

After a five-year, 1.8 billion-mile (2.8 billion km) journey from Earth, the Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit, flying within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) of Earth’s rotating cloud tops.

The probe skims every two weeks at a distance of just 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) from Earth’s clouds — too close to provide global coverage in a single image.

No spacecraft has ever orbited so close to Jupiter before, although two others have crashed through its atmosphere.

To accomplish its dangerous mission, Juno survived a circling radiation storm created by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.

The vortex of energetic particles traveling at close to the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.

To deal with this, the spacecraft is protected with special radiation-hardened wiring and sensor shielding.

Its most important “brain” — the spacecraft’s flight computer — is housed in an armored vault made of titanium and weighs about 400 pounds (172 kilograms).

The spacecraft is expected to study the planet’s atmospheric composition by 2025.

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