NASA’s Juno probe captured a stunning image of Jupiter that reveals the planet’s true colors

NASA’s probe has captured stunning new images of Jupiter, showing the gas giant in its ‘true colours’.

The Juno spacecraft noticed the complex colors and swirling patterns of the planet’s clouds when it completed its 43rd close flyby on July 5.

The raw images captured by the JunoCam tool were made available to the public, when software engineer Bjorn Johnson stepped in to process them.

Mr. Jónsson processed a single image to depict the approximate colors that the human eye would see from Juno’s point of view.

Then he created another, using the same data, with increased saturation and contrast giving a clearer and more vivid view of Jupiter.

The Juno spacecraft observed the intricate colors and swirling patterns of Jupiter’s clouds when it completed its 43rd close flyby on July 5, 2022.

A near-real color and contrast image of Jupiter processed by Bjorn Johnson from the PJ44_46 Raw Image Frames produced by NASA's JunoCam instrument.  north ascent

A near-real color and contrast image of Jupiter processed by Bjorn Johnson from the PJ44_46 Raw Image Frames produced by NASA’s JunoCam instrument. north ascent

An enhanced image of Jupiter processed by Bjorn Johnson from the PJ43_41 Elementary Image Frames produced by NASA's JunoCam.  Contrast and color saturation have been increased and small scale features sharpened.  Special processing is also used to reduce compression noise and noise in the image.  north ascent

An enhanced image of Jupiter processed by Bjorn Johnson from the PJ43_41 Elementary Image Frames produced by NASA’s JunoCam. Contrast and color saturation have been increased and small scale features sharpened. Special processing is also used to reduce compression noise and noise in the image. north ascent

Jupiter: the basics

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in our solar system.

It is a huge ball of gas composed mostly of hydrogen and helium with some heavy elements.

“The streaks and swirls familiar to Jupiter are actually cold, stormy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium,” NASA said.

“Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a giant storm larger than Earth and has been erupting for hundreds of years.”

The planet is twice the size of the other planet combined, and the Great Red Spot alone is large enough to fit the entire Earth inside.

NASA’s Juno orbiter is currently exploring the planet.

distance from the sun: 750 million km

orbital: 12 years

surface area: 61.42 billion square kilometers

radius: 69,911 km

Mass: 1.898 x 10^27 kg (317.8 m3)

Length of the day: 0d 9h 56m

moons: 53 with official designations; Unlimited additional satellites

At the time of the instrument’s passage, it was about 3,300 miles (5,300 km) above the tops of Jupiter’s cloud, at a latitude of about 50 degrees.

The spacecraft was traveling at about 130,000 miles per hour (209,000 kilometers per hour) relative to the planet.

Mr. Jónsson, a citizen scientist and self-described amateur planetary advanced image processor, has successfully photographed the structure of Jupiter’s clouds.

When he increased color saturation and contrast, small-scale features were sharpened while reducing any noise and compression.

The difference in colors results from the difference in chemical composition within the planet’s atmosphere.

His processed images also show the three-dimensional nature of Jupiter’s great vortex vortices, and smaller “pop-up” clouds that form in the upper parts of its atmosphere.

Juno reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year journey, 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion km) from Earth.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit and flew 3,100 miles (5,000 km) from the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The probe blasted just 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from the planet’s clouds once every two weeks — very close to providing global coverage in a single image.

No previous spacecraft has orbited so close to Jupiter, though two more have been sent sinking to destroy them through its atmosphere.

NASA has promoted new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured the stunning aurora borealis around Jupiter’s north and south poles.

As Jupiter rotates, it pulls its magnetic field, which is bombarded by solar wind particles, causing fluctuations that create the aurora borealis.

This is a process similar to how the solar wind creates the wonderful aurora borealis on Earth.

When Mr. Jónsson increased color saturation and contrast, undersized features were sharpened while minimizing any noise and stress caused by compression.

When Mr. Jónsson increased color saturation and contrast, undersized features were sharpened while minimizing any noise and stress caused by compression.

Besides the glowing plumes, the images show incredible detail of the turbulent atmosphere, and the rings around the planet and some of Jupiter’s 79 glowing moons can be seen around the giant planet.

Astronomers working with JWST were surprised to see the stunning detail in the images, with astronomer Imke de Pater saying he and his team did not expect the results to be this good.

“It’s really cool that we can see details about Jupiter with its rings, little moons, and even galaxies in one picture,” said de Pater, who is also professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

The images were taken with the Telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam), which is capable of detecting infrared radiation from the oldest stars and galaxies.

NASA has promoted new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured the stunning aurora borealis around Jupiter's north and south poles.  One of the images (pictured), which shows Jupiter alone, is a composite of several images and shows the aurora borealis streaming bright orange, yellow and green over Jupiter's north and south poles.

NASA has promoted new images just days after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) captured the stunning aurora borealis around Jupiter’s north and south poles. One of the images (pictured), which shows Jupiter alone, is a composite of several images and shows the aurora borealis streaming bright orange, yellow and green over Jupiter’s north and south poles.

How NASA’s Juno probe will reveal the secrets of the largest planet in the solar system

The Juno probe arrived at Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year journey and 1.8 billion miles from Earth

The Juno probe arrived at Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year journey and 1.8 billion miles from Earth

Juno reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year journey, 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion km) from Earth.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit and flew 3,100 miles (5,000 km) from the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The probe blasted just 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from the planet’s clouds once every two weeks — very close to providing global coverage in a single image.

No previous spacecraft has orbited so close to Jupiter, though two more have been sent sinking to destroy them through its atmosphere.

To complete its perilous mission, Juno survived a deadly radiation storm caused by Jupiter’s strong magnetic field.

The vortex of high-energy particles traveling at nearly the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.

To cope with the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-reinforced wires and a sensor shield.

Its all-important ‘brain’ – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in an armored vault made of titanium and weighed about 400 pounds (172 kg).

The craft is expected to study the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2025.

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