NASA recently released two images captured by its Juno spacecraft, which has been orbiting the gas giant since the summer of 2016. Both images show massive swaths of the planet’s marbled clouds.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this stunning view of Jupiter on Feb. 17, 2020. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/SwRI/MSSS; image processing by Gerald Eichstädt)
An image captured on Feb. 17 of this year shows striking streaks of haze particles draped above the main clouds in Jupiter’s atmosphere vertically across the center of the image. The haze is a puzzle: scientists can’t figure out its cause or composition, according to a NASA statement. One hypothesis is that the jet stream bands that surround the haze’s usual area may contribute to its formation.
When Juno captured the image, the spacecraft was about 15,610 miles (25,120 kilometers) above Jupiter’s clouds.
Juno captured another look at Jupiter on April 10, 2020. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS; image processing by Kevin M. Gill © CC BY)
A second image, captured on April 10, offers a much closer look at the planet’s atmosphere, taken from just 5,375 miles (8,650 km) up. On display in this image are small clouds that scientists have dubbed “pop-up” clouds because they stick out brightly at the edges of the atmosphere’s swirls, according to a NASA statement.
Juno will continue studying Jupiter, making close passes over its clouds every 53 days, until at least July 2021.