The US Space firm NASA has issued an image of blue cloud creations on Jupiter taken by the JunoCam imaging instrument onboard the Juno spacecraft. The image was obtained from a distance of 18,906 kilometres above the cloud tops of the gas giant. The area captured by the image is in the northern hemisphere of the Jupiter. Due to the angle of the Sun concerning the planet, some of the clouds in the higher altitudes can be viewed casting shadows on the lower clouds. The image was captured on 24 October. With many turning points scoring its one-year-long journey in Jupiter’s orbit, Juno has transformed the world’s opinion and understanding of the gas giant.
In another significant image released by NASA, Jupiter can be seen showing off its Jovian clouds in striking shades of blue. Juno’s primary goal is to understand the creation and evolution of the gas giant. Beneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards mysteries to the underlying processes and circumstances that governed our solar system during its creation. As our prime example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide significant knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being detected around other stars.
With its suite of science tools, Juno will examine the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field, measure the volume of water and ammonia in the dark atmosphere, and inspect the planet’s auroras.
Juno will let us take a tremendous step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these giants played in putting together the rest of the solar system.
Juno obtained this image when the spacecraft was only 18,906 kilometres from the tops of Jupiter’s clouds. The colour-enhanced photograph, which occupies a cloud system in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere, was taken on October 24, 2017, at 10:24 am PDT when Juno was at a latitude of 57.57 degrees and performing its ninth close flyby of the gas giant planet.
According to NASA, because of the Juno-Jupiter-Sun angle when the probe captured this picture, the higher-altitude clouds can be observed casting shadows on their surroundings. The behaviour is most readily noticeable in the whitest regions in the image, but also in a few hidden spots in both the bottom and right areas of the image.
Scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager.
— NASA's Juno Mission (@NASAJuno) November 30, 2017
JunoCam is a colour, visible-light camera designed to capture remarkable pictures of Jupiter’s poles and cloud tops. As Juno’s eyes, it will provide a wide view, helping to provide context for the spacecraft’s other instruments. JunoCam was included on the spacecraft specifically for purposes of public engagement; although its images will be helpful to the science team, it is not considered one of the mission’s science instruments.
The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops — as close as about 2,600 miles (4,100 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
Juno’s name comes from Roman mythology. The mythical god Jupiter drew a veil of clouds around himself to hide his mischief, and his wife — the goddess Juno — was able to peer through the clouds and reveal Jupiter’s true nature.
JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.
You can see all the images captured by Juno spacecraft here