As Juno completed its fifth flyby of Jupiter, NASA released a set of stunning picture of the biggest planet of our solar system. In the pictures, Jupiter appears as a deep red ball surrounded by layers of pale yellow, orange and white. In one of the pictures, it shows the much discussed “Great Red Spot” which is a giant storm in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Juno has eight science instruments which help collect data during the flyby. During the flybys, the spacecraft is looking under the blurring clouds that cover the planet and studies its auroras to learn more about its origins, make-up, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Scott Bolton, Principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said, “This will be our fourth science pass — the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission — and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal,” He added “Every time we get near Jupiter’s cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet.”
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) which is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech reports, “Through the returns from previous flybys, scientists have discovered that Jupiter’s magnetic fields are more complicated than originally thought and that the belts and zones that give the planet’s cloud top their distinctive look extend deep into its interior. Observations of the energetic particles that create the incandescent auroras suggest a complicated current system involving charged material lofted from volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io.”
Juno was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in August 2011 and entered into the polar orbit of Jupiter in July 2016 to begin a scientific investigation of the planet and it’s mysterious cloud tops.
Juno’s next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on May 19, 2017.
Pic Credits: Nasa.gov