spaceSpace and Physics

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Just Snapped An Amazing Image Of Jupiter's Chaotic Clouds


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


Another week, another glorious image of Jupiter. But as the images are so great, you really can’t get tired of them.

The image was taken by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is currently in orbit around the gas giant. It was taken from a distance of about 15,500 kilometers (9,600 miles) from the cloud tops of the planet on May 23, as the spacecraft was making its 13th close flyby of the planet.


“The region seen here is somewhat chaotic and turbulent, given the various swirling cloud formations,” said NASA. “In general, the darker cloud material is deeper in Jupiter’s atmosphere, while bright cloud material is high. The bright clouds are most likely ammonia or ammonia and water, mixed with a sprinkling of unknown chemical ingredients.”

Here's the image in all its glory. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

The image has been processed from the original raw image by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran to enhance its colors. These images are taken by the JunoCam on the spacecraft, with the raw images available online for anyone to take a look at.

The main feature in the image is a bright oval at the bottom, a giant weather system on the planet. Interestingly NASA noted there was “no significant motion” inside the storm, suggesting that like the famous Great Red Spot, the winds probably greatly slow down towards its center.

If you enjoy seeing images like this, then we’ve got some good news, as the Juno mission was recently extended until July 2021 at the earliest. This will give the spacecraft more time to map the entire planet, one of its primary science goals, and provide us with more great images, of course.


spaceSpace and Physics
  • tag
  • nasa,

  • jupiter,

  • clouds,

  • storm,

  • juno