On the left is a slim beige version of Jupiter. On the right is the same image, except for the blue, orange and yellow tones.

NASA captures Jupiter’s true colors, and it’s a special sight

These days, whenever I see an image of something in the universe, I squint in disbelief and then revel in awe.I found myself thinking: this is Actually What does that thing look like?

Most of the time, scientists add artistic elements to their space images. It’s not just for fun (although it’s fun), but because a little coloration can go a long way when it comes to accentuating primitive planetary visuals or depicting cosmic light that is imperceptible to the human pupil.

For us space watchers, that means no matter how hard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope tries to convince us, the Carina Nebula isn’t like warm, melting toffee. No matter what elementary school textbooks say, Venus is not a mustard-yellow sphere. Contrary to what the Hubble Space Telescope suggests, the Veil Nebula is unfortunately not a rainbow bug. I can go on.

So, whenever I see an image of a realm beyond Earth, I know no Colored, I stared a little longer than usual – we were blessed with such a miracle on Tuesday.

Behold, the left side of the image below, taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. If we could stare at the surface of Jupiter like the moon, this is probably what the surface of Jupiter would look like. king of the solar systemindeed.

On July 5, 2022, NASA’s Juno spacecraft made its 43rd close flyby of the giant planet, providing us with this image of Jupiter.

Data provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS and image processing provided by Björn Jónsson

Can’t help but look to the right? identical. But be careful. That’s one of those suspiciously processed images. It has higher color saturation and contrast to sharpen small-scale Jupiter features, NASA said in a statement. The agency explained that this manipulation is important to reduce noise or other artifacts in portraits.

“This clearly reveals some of the most interesting aspects of Jupiter’s atmosphere,” NASA said, “including the color shifts caused by different chemical compositions, the three-dimensional nature of Jupiter’s vortices, and the small, bright ‘pop-up’ clouds of its atmosphere in The higher part forms.”

Of course, this version of the Jupiter Marble skin is undoubtedly more visually striking – but consider our reality on the left. In space, there is a sphere of swirling gas that can hold more than 1,300 Earths. And…it might look like that?

Carina Nebula: On a rusty bronze gas cloud, stars sparkle against an indigo background

Image of the Carina Nebula from the James Webb Space Telescope.


Our latest special shot of Jupiter is thanks to citizen scientist Björn Jónsson, who collected and compiled publicly available data from NASA’s Juno mission. Juno, a spacecraft spanning the width of a basketball court, makes a long, circular orbit around the reddish-brown world while capturing information and images about its planetary muse.

Juno has been a force since launching from Earth in 2011.

It sends back a spectacular photo album of Jupiter, from the watercolor swirls of azure and opal, to the gorgeous pink tones of Jupiter’s atmosphere, and even darker, more realistic layered images.

NASA's image of swirling swirls, representing giant storms on Jupiter.

A recent JunoCam image of the giant storm adorning Jupiter’s North Pole.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS image processing by Brian Swift

Additionally, on April 9, Juno reached its closest approach to Jupiter, just over 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) from Jupiter’s cloud tops, paving the way for this kind of stop-motion animation.

On April 9, JunoCam captured it riding with the spacecraft. Citizen scientist Andrea Luck created this animated sequence using raw JunoCam image data.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS provided data, Andrea Luck provided image processing

For Jonson’s image of the new gas giant, Juno is located about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops at about 50 degrees latitude. “At that moment, the spacecraft was traveling at about 130,000 mph (209,000 km/h) relative to Earth,” NASA said.

Another victory for Juno, another of our introspective space treasures.

It’s things like this that make me feel something strange — a mixture of existential fear, wonder, silence. They remind us of our small but very clever vantage point for the universe.

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