NASA's Juno Spacecraft Has Taken Some Incredible Pictures Of Jupiter

Space is full of mysteries, but given that's it's probably infinite, that's no great surprise. Regardless of that, we have a hell of a lot to learn about the part of space that the Earth occupies, namely our own solar system. We've set foot on the moon, but there's still a lot more to explore in that tiny fraction of the universe we call our own.


Credit: NASA

As technology improves, however, so does our ability to study our solar system and the planets. That is exactly what NASA has been doing with its Juno spacecraft.

It got just over an Earth's diameter from Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, and snapped this incredible shot, among many, of the planet's atmosphere and the clouds - thought to be about 30 miles thick that surround it.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

Not only can you get an impression of how huge Jupiter must be if even from an Earth's distance it fills the entire screen, but its clouds look like swirls of rich, thick, oil paint.

To be fair, the main photo has been colour-enhanced, but it's still sick. According to the NASA website, the spatial scale in this image is 5.8 miles/pixel (9.3 kilometres/pixel), which once again demonstrates just how gigantic Jupiter actually is.

The fifth planet from the Sun, Jupiter has a mass of two-and-a-half times all the other planets in the solar system combined. It has a radius of 69,911 km which is over 10 times the size of the Earth, whose radius is a mere 6,371 km.

The clouds in the main picture were taken by Juno in Jupiter's northern hemisphere on December 16 last year at a distance of 8,292 miles (or 13,345 km) from the tops of Jupiter's clouds.

What lies beneath the clouds is still unknown. Scientists think there's a possibility that Jupiter may have a solid surface, but as yet the answer to that question remains a mystery.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

The pictures taken by Juno's camera are all available to look at online, which is also encouraging amateur astronomers to upload their own photographs of Jupiter.

If you don't have a telescope, don't fear - you can still suggest the parts of Jupiter that Juno should photograph. After all, there's a lot of ground - and clouds - to cover.

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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