Jupiter's southern hemisphere © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

35 breathtaking pictures of Jupiter taken from the Juno spacecraft

As NASA's Juno space probe continues to orbit the Solar System's largest planet, we look back at some of its best images of this Jovian wonder.

Jupiter's southern hemisphere © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Jupiter’s southern hemisphere © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Data processed from the JunoCam imager was used to create this image of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, clearly showing one of the eight massive storms that together form the “string of pearls”. These series of storms appear as white ovals which encircle the southern hemisphere.

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Jupiter's south pole © NASA Goddard
Jupiter’s south pole © NASA Goddard

A combination of images taken by JunoCam on three separate orbits, this picture shows Jupiter’s south pole and the oval cyclones found there, which are up to 600 miles in diameter.


Views of Jupiter's north pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Views of Jupiter’s north pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Two versions of the same image are shown here, each contrast enhanced differently to show atmospheric features both near the terminator, the line between day and night, and the brighter outer limb.


Juno's approach © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Juno’s approach © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

The Juno spacecraft approached Jupiter from its northern hemisphere, unlike other missions which approached from lower latitudes near the equator. Juno’s imaging camera, JunoCam, is used to produce high resolution images of Jupiter’s atmosphere from up close.


Jupiter's south pole in infrared © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
Jupiter’s south pole in infrared © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

This computer-generated image, created using data from the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument on the Juno spacecraft, gives a 3D impression of Jupiter’s south pole. The central cyclone at the pole is surrounded by five distinct smaller cyclones, ranging in diameter from 3,500 to 4,300 miles.


Cyclones at Jupiter's north pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
Cyclones at Jupiter’s north pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

Data collected by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument on the Juno spacecraft shows the eight cyclones surrounding a central one, found on Jupiter’s north pole.


Jupiter's southern storms © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/John Landino
Jupiter’s southern storms © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/John Landino

This image was taken by JunoCam directly above Jupiter’s south pole, the enhanced colour showing clearly the oval shaped storms’ high clouds found there.


Jupiter's clouds © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Jupiter’s clouds © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere can be clearly seen in this image taken in the Northern hemisphere whilst Juno was just 8,292 miles above the tops of the clouds.


Jupiter's southern lights © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI
Jupiter’s southern lights © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

Data from Juno’s Ultraviolet Spectrograph helped create this false colour map of the southern lights. Auroras are generated from collisions between electrons from the magnetosphere and molecular hydrogen in the upper atmosphere. The red colours indicate emissions from deeper in the atmosphere.


Northern storm © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Matt Brealey/Gustavo B C
Northern storm © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Matt Brealey/Gustavo B C

This colour-enhanced image shows a storm that occurred in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere during the Juno spacecraft’s eleventh close flyby.


Jupiter pearl © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Eric Jorgensen
Jupiter pearl © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Eric Jorgensen

This image focusses on the turbulent clouds just south-east of one of Jupiter’s “Pearl” storms. Eight other such storms are found circling the southern hemisphere, creating the so called “string of pearls”.


Jupiter's dark spot © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko
Jupiter’s dark spot © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

This image, taken by JunoCam at an altitude of 9,000 miles and rotated by 90 degrees, shows Jupiter’s mysterious ‘dark spot’ to be an area of rotating storms. A brighter storm can be seen just south of the dark storm, its swirling white clouds reminiscent of a galaxy.


Jovian jet stream © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran
Jovian jet stream © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran

Jupiter’s N2 jet stream, a fast-moving, meandering current of air, travels through the atmosphere of the northern temperate belts of Jupiter.


Jupiter ring © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI
Jupiter ring © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

Jupiter’s rings were first discovered by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1979. In August 2016, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU-1) star camera on the Juno spacecraft took the first image from inside the ring system looking out. Jupiter’s main ring can be seen in the centre of the image.


The 'face' of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major
The ‘face’ of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major

This image, created by citizen scientists Jason Major, has been rotated 180 degrees to uncover the ‘face’ of Jupiter, the two white storms becoming its ‘eyes’.


Jupiter's Great Red Spot © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

Data from Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR) from its first pass over Jupiter suggests that the Great Red Spot, the planet’s most famous feature, reaches far down into the planet’s atmosphere, by about 200 miles.


Jovian southern hemisphere © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko
Jovian southern hemisphere © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Taken at an altitude of about 9,000 miles above the cloud tops, this image demonstrates the turbulent cloud system around a storm in the southern Jovian hemisphere.


Jupiter's bands © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Jupiter’s bands © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

Jupiter’s light and dark bands of atmosphere travel around the planet at hundreds of miles per hour. The darker bands are associated with areas where gas is sinking, the lighter bands with rising gas. Three of the eight ‘string of pearl’ storms can be seen at the top of the image.


Jupiter near infrared © Gemini Observatory/AURA/NASA/JPL-Caltech
Jupiter near infrared © Gemini Observatory/AURA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

As Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is one of the highest altitude features, it appears prominently on this false-colour infrared image, which uses wavelengths sensitive to hazes at the top of the convective region of the atmosphere. Other anticlockwise cyclones, shown again by white spots on the image, can be seen north of the equator.


Jupiter's south polar region © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Jupiter’s south polar region © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

This contrast-enhanced image of the southern polar region clearly shows the strong variety and vibrancy in Jupiter’s stormy atmosphere.


Jupiter and the Great Red Spot, mid-infrared © NAOJ/NASA/JPL-Caltech
Jupiter and the Great Red Spot, mid-infrared © NAOJ/NASA/JPL-Caltech

This false colour, mid-infrared image of Jupiter uses a wavelength which is sensitive to tropospheric temperatures and clouds near the condensation level of ammonia gas. The Great Red Spot can be clearly seen as darker regions of the image show areas that are colder and moister.


Storms at Jupiter's south pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Storms at Jupiter’s south pole © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Jupiter’s poles, unlike its equator, don’t feature its characteristic light and dark bands, but rather a mix of rotating storms. Before the Juno spacecraft, this particular viewpoint of Jupiter’s south pole hadn’t been seen before.


A new perspective of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran
A new perspective of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran

This unique angle of perspective achieved by the Juno spacecraft makes it appear that the Great Red Spot is in the northern hemisphere of Jupiter.


Waves of cloud on Jupiter © NASA/SWRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Waves of cloud on Jupiter © NASA/SWRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

The distinct waves of cloud in this image are high in the atmosphere of Jupiter and are likely formed of water and ammonia ice.


Jupiter's twilight zone © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt
Jupiter’s twilight zone © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt

In order to capture a better image of the area in the terminator, the meeting of day and night, multiple images were taken at different exposures. Although the brighter side of Jupiter becomes over exposed, cloud formations can therefore be made out in the darker ‘twilight’ zone.


Jupiter in false colour © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstaedt
Jupiter in false colour © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstaedt

The filters used mean the image is sensitive to high clouds and altitude hazes, thereby giving information of the vertical structure of Jupiter’s atmosphere. This is why the Great Red Spot and Oval BA, below it, are particularly bright. The storms in the southern pole are obscured by a high haze layer.


View over Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt
View over Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt

The stunning colours of this image, taken by the Juno spacecraft on its eighth flyby, showcase two features called ‘whale’s tail’ and ‘Dan’s spot’.


Cloud patterns of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill
Cloud patterns of Jupiter © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

One of the aims of the Juno mission is to map variations in the structure and motion of the atmosphere below the top of the cloud cover, looking in particular at composition, temperature and movement.


Jupiter in blue © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran
Jupiter in blue © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

The colour enhancement of the image shows off the ability of the higher cloud formations to cast shadows down on the surroundings, best seen in the brighter areas of the image.


Cloud tops © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson
Cloud tops © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

This image shows off the bright clouds in an anti-clockwise, rotating storm in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.


Jovian storm © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major
Jovian storm © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major

The colour and contrast of this image has been enhanced to show in more detail the Jovian storm.


Jovian aurora © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI
Jovian aurora © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

This image was taken using data from Juno’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (UVS), showing Jupiter’s auroras.


Jupiter in infrared © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
Jupiter in infrared © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

The Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument was used to image Jupiter in infrared light. The upper box, in blue, maps Jupiter’s auroras whereas the lower one, in red, shows its thermal emissions.


The Great Red Spot in colour © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson
The Great Red Spot in colour © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

The natural colours used in this image aim to give an impression of what Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot would look like to the human eye. It has been observed on Jupiter for the past 150 years and has a diameter twice as wide as the Earth.


Amalthea's shadow © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
Amalthea’s shadow © NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Jupiter’s moon Amalthea casts a shadow on its parent planet, its elongated shape being due to the angle and the moon’s irregular shape. Amalthea is the largest of Jupiter’s moons and, as its orbit is so close to Jupiter itself, it will eventually fall into the planet.


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