I’m not usually one of those “check out this beautiful planet photo” people (JK, I am). But seriously, the images coming from the citizen scientists looking at Juno data are all incredible. I’m not sure how this latest one can even be real.
I mean, yeah, of course it’s real. You’re looking at the planet’s turbulent gas clouds of different molecules swirling around the largest planet in our solar system. Some say Jupiter’s most striking feature is its Great Red Spot. I’d argue it’s the deep, swirling blues at the poles.
Juno snapped this image with its JunoCam on 16 December 2017, when it was almost 65,000 miles from the planet’s cloud tops, according to a NASA release. That’s pretty far, a distance greater than eight Earths stacked on top of one another. Jupiter itself is around 11 Earths in diameter.
The raw data for these images is all available on the MissionJuno website for people like you to process. Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt can take credit for this amazing image. And if you’re not good with computers, you can still see some pretty fabulous views of Jupiter with a telescope.
Anyway, take a break, enjoy this picture of space. [NASA]