NASA launched the Juno spacecraft in 2011 to unravel “mysteries” about Jupiter, arriving on the planet five years later. Now, the equipment sent back its most recent batch of photographs of Jupiter, after another year of its scientific mission, completing the 31st orbit.
The images arrive on Earth as raw raw data, because the JunoCam is equipped with a 2 MP image sensor that captures photographs while the sensor rotates. For this reason, it produces “strips” of images instead of photographs ready to be seen at the moment.
The probe’s image data is then meticulously processed and its color and contrast are carefully enhanced by scientists like Kevin M. Gill. At the Flickr image sharing site the researcher has published the most recent photographs showing Jupiter in the eyes of NASA’s probe.
See the latest images of Jupiter:
However, the solar powered probe is not just a “photographer”. Its mission is to investigate what is beneath Jupiter’s dense cloud cover to unravel mysteries about the formation and evolution of what is a dark and stormy planet, as well as its gravity and magnetic fields, atmospheric dynamics and composition.
What has the NASA probe discovered?
A milestone of Juno’s mission in 2020 was the capture of all eight circumpoles around a central cyclone located at Jupiter’s north pole. The original JunoCam images used to produce the photograph were captured during the flyovers of February 17, April 10, June 2 and July 25, 2020. This is because JunoCam is only capable of handling visible light.
In May, scientists recorded the most detailed image ever of Jupiter’s atmosphere, with the contribution of the Juno spacecraft, the Hubble space telescope and the Gemini observatory. It is the clearest view we have ever had of the planet, with the image giving a view of the storms that “thunder” in the planet’s atmosphere.