New Up-Close Image Of Jupiter Is So Hypnotic It Hurts

New Up-Close Image Of Jupiter Is So Hypnotic It Hurts

New Up-Close Image Of Jupiter Is So Hypnotic It Hurts

NASA said in a statement that its Juno spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter at 4:52 a.m. EDT or 0852 GMT, hovering just 2,700 miles above the gas giant, while traveling at a sped of around 129,000 mph or 208,000 km per hour.

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this enhanced-color view of Jupiter during its fourth close flyby on February 2, 2017. Meanwhile, the spacecraft's JunoCam took close-up color photos of the mysterious and massive planet.

Launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Juno arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The close flyby was the fifth for Juno and the fourth science pass during which all of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating and collecting data.

"Juno is healthy, its science instruments are fully operational, and the data and images we've received are nothing short of wonderful", said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

"Every time we get near Jupiter's cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this awesome giant planet", said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Since then, the probe has made several new discoveries about the planet's composition and cloud structure as well as its magnificent auroras and magnetic fields.

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The image, originally taken by Juno's "JunoCam" camera, was taken in early February and shows Jupiter's ever-swirling mass of storm clouds from an altitude of roughly 9,000 miles. This is because Juno is in an elliptical orbit around Jupiter. After completing its mission, Juno will be intentionally deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere.

Speaking at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference near Houston, Green said Juno's higher orbit will allow it to move through Jupiter's magnetotail, the part of the magnetic field bubble around the planet that is blown back like a comet's tail by the solar wind.

The Juno science team continues to analyse returns from previous flybys.

One such instance occurred recently when Juno captured an awesome image of Jupiter and within that image a citizen scientist named Roman Tkachenko spotted a "Dark Spot" on Jupiter after he enhanced the images using his skills.

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