published on 12 April 2018 in space

JunoCam gives us a new image of Jupiter

The Juno space probe has given us a surprising new image of Jupiter, in which the gas-giant planet is surrounded by veritable swirls of clouds. JunoCam – the high-resolution camera positioned on board NASA’s Juno probe, took the picture on 1 April when it was 11:32 am in Italy, during the twelfth close flyby around Jupiter. At that time, the probe was around 12,326 kilometres from the clouds of the ‘gas giant’.

The swirling clouds surrounding Jupiter. Credits: NASA

JunoCam is an ambitious citizen science project – that is science projects to which citizens can contribute – because deciding which regions of the planet’s atmosphere are to be photographs is left to citizens, in special online voting the rounds of which are held periodically. Not only: once taken, the photos can be freely downloaded and ‘touched up’ by anyone, giving free rein to citizens’ artistic inspiration.
The Juno space probe was launched by NASA on 5 August 2011 from Cape Canaveral and arrived in Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016; the purpose of the Juno mission is to study the origin, evolution and internal structure of the planet, its polar magnetosphere, the origin of its magnetic field, how abundant water is, characterisation of the winds in the lower atmosphere and quantities of oxygen and nitrogen.

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