12 years after NASA launched its Juno mission to Jupiter, these are its most stunning images of the gas giant

NASA's Juno spacecraft flying above Jupiter's swirling clouds.

An illustration of NASA’s Juno spacecraft flying above the clouds of Jupiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin Gill

  • NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter and taking jaw-dropping pictures since 2016.

  • The newest photos seize Jupiter’s cyclones, moons, and ambiance in gorgeous element.

  • The mission can be serving to scientists perceive how different gasoline giants evolve.

NASA has been flying spacecraft by Jupiter because the ’70s. However no spacecraft fairly compares to Juno.

Juno is NASA’s newest Jupiter mission, and it has proven us a very new perspective of the large planet.

Listed here are a number of the most gorgeous photos from the mission thus far, and the way Juno has modified our understanding of Jupiter.

NASA’s Juno mission has been orbiting Jupiter and snapping gorgeous pictures for greater than seven years.

Southern hemisphere of Jupiter against the darkness of space.

Jupiter’s southern hemisphere is a chaotic mess of swirling gasoline and storms.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Rita Najm © (CC BY)

The spacecraft launched greater than 10 years in the past, on August 5, 2011 and is the ninth NASA spacecraft to discover Jupiter.

Jupiter photographed against the darkness of space.

This Juno picture of Jupiter exhibits the distinctive bands that wrap across the whole planet.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Because it sped towards Jupiter, Juno snapped a goodbye picture of Earth, proving its cameras had been prepared for area.

Black and white photo of Earth against the darkness of space.

The Juno spacecraft’s JunoCam caught this picture of Earth because it sped previous to get a gravitational increase towards Jupiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Area Science Methods

Juno lastly fell into orbit across the big gaseous planet in 2016.

Jupiter against the darkness of space.

Juno snapped this picture of a “Jupiterrise” on one in all its first flybys in 2016.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Alex Mai

Since launch, the probe has traveled greater than 1 billion miles, and its JunoCam instrument has taken a whole lot to hundreds of pictures.

Jupiter's hazy, swirly atmosphere.

Juno captures Jupiter’s hazy ambiance in gorgeous element.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson © (CC NC SA)

Juno beams the uncooked knowledge to Earth as black-and-white picture layers that signify pink, blue, and inexperienced.

A half-sphere rendering of Jupiter against the darkness of space.

A uncooked picture of Jupiter in blue, inexperienced, and pink.NASA/SwRI/MSSS

Then, citizen scientists merge the layers and course of them to make gorgeous, colourful portraits of Jupiter and its moons.

Jupiter's South Temperate Belt and Great Red Spot photographed against the darkness of space.

Jupiter’s reddish-orange south temperate belt with the Nice Purple Spot, which is probably the most dominant atmospheric characteristic within the planet’s southern hemisphere.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Navaneeth Krishnan (S CC BY)

They improve the colours to focus on totally different bands of Jupiter’s ambiance, storms, and clouds.

Jupiter's north temperate belt photographed against the darkness of space.

Jupiter’s reddish-orange north temperate belt, with two grey anticyclones.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill (CC-BY)

This enhanced picture exhibits the complexity of Jupiter’s colours.

Colorful swirls in Jupiter's atmosphere photographed against the darkness of space.

The colour saturation and distinction on this picture had been enhanced to sharpen the main points of Jupiter’s ambiance.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson © (CC NC SA)

Juno’s orbit takes it removed from Jupiter, then swings it again towards the planet for shut flybys.

Swirling clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere.

Clouds swirl round one another on Jupiter.NASA/JPL/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Alexis Tranchandon/Solaris

Throughout these flybys, the probe has flown over Jupiter’s north pole, the place eight storms rage round an enormous, Earth-size cyclone on the heart.

A blue and green image of cyclones at Jupiter's north pole (left) next to a composite image of these same cyclones in infrared (right)

Juno’s most up-to-date picture of cyclones at Jupiter’s north pole and a composite infrared picture of those cyclones.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Navaneeth Krishnan S CC BY 3.0; NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

The planet’s south pole is not any much less gorgeous. Juno gave us the primary close-up photos ever taken of Jupiter’s poles.

Jupiter's south pole photographed against the darkness of space.

A photograph of Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Corridor/Gervasio Robles

Juno even captured this eerie picture of a “face” in Jupiter’s ambiance simply earlier than Halloween.

Clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere that look like a person's face.

Can you see the face on this picture? The clouds and storms resemble a mouth and a pair of eyes in Jupiter’s far northern area.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Vladimir Tarasov © (CC BY)

Seen collectively, the collection of pictures that Juno snaps throughout every flyby exhibits the spacecraft’s journey.

Progression of images of Jupiter taken as the Juno spacecraft approached it.

Seán Doran, a picture processor, created this composite to point out the spacecraft’s strategy to Jupiter.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The successive photos present Juno zipping from one pole to the opposite in only a few hours, approaching Jupiter, after which flying away.

Progression of images of Jupiter taken as the Juno spacecraft flew away from the planet.

These photos had been taken as Juno left Jupiter.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

However Juno’s mission is not about fairly photos. It is searching for clues about how Jupiter fashioned and the way it developed.

Jupiter's S. South Temperate Belt photographed against the darkness of space.

Jupiter’s white ovals.NASA/JPL/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Justin Cowart (CC BY 3.0)

That historical past might help scientists examine the beginnings of our photo voltaic system and determine clues about Jupiter-like gasoline giants orbiting different stars.

Jupiter's swirling clouds.

Jupiter’s swirling clouds enhanced to point out their intricate shapes and colours.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

Juno measured Jupiter’s magnetic area for the primary time, discovering it way more highly effective than scientists anticipated. Jupiter’s magnetic area is 10 occasions extra highly effective than the strongest area on Earth.

Jupiter's atmosphere photographed against the darkness of space.

A mass of swirling clouds and storms on Jupiter.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

A yr after its arrival, Juno zipped previous Jupiter’s Nice Purple Spot, a raging storm close to the planet’s equator. It found that this cyclone goes 200 miles deep — that is 50 to 100 occasions as deep as Earth’s oceans.

Gif of Jupiter's Great Red Spot swirling counterclockwise.

Scientists animated this Juno picture of the Nice Purple Spot primarily based on velocity knowledge from the spacecraft and fashions of the storm’s winds.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Justin Cowart

Cyclones spin in the identical course because the planet, however anticyclones spin in the wrong way. Each are discovered throughout Jupiter in various sizes.

A white anticyclone on the surface of Jupiter.

A white anticyclone swirling on Jupiter’s floor.NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill (CC BY 2.0)

Juno has additionally noticed the aurora ribboning throughout Jupiter’s south pole. They’re like auroras on Earth however a whole lot of occasions extra highly effective and, not like different planets’ auroras, emit highly effective X-rays.

Red aurora on Jupiter

Jupiter’s southern aurora in infrared.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM

The spacecraft captured the shadow of Jupiter’s icy satellite tv for pc Ganymede, the most important moon within the photo voltaic system.

Shadow of Ganymede on surface of Jupiter (left) and a black and white image of Ganymede (right).

The shadow solid by Ganymede on Jupiter’s floor and the moon itself.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Thomas Thomopoulos (CC BY); NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Gerald Eichstädt, a citizen scientist, compiled Juno’s imagery right into a time-lapse video of its June flyby, which took the spacecraft previous Jupiter and Ganymede.

Throughout its 53rd shut flyby of Jupiter, Juno captured the planet with its volcanically energetic moon, Io, floating in area.

Jupiter floating in space next to it's crescent moon, Io

Jupiter and its volcanically energetic moon, Io.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Alain Mirón Velázquez © (CC BY)

Jupiter has 95 moons. On this dramatic picture, the moon Io casts its shadow on the planet. When you may stand on Jupiter, it might appear like a full photo voltaic eclipse.

Shadow of Jupiter's moon Io on Jupiter's surface.

Io casting its shadow on Jupiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill (CC-BY)

Juno was initially set for a fiery loss of life in Jupiter’s ambiance in 2021, however NASA prolonged its mission by way of September 2025 so it may observe Ganymede, Io, and Europa extra carefully.

Cyclonic storm on the surface of Jupiter.

A cyclonic storm captured throughout Juno’s twenty third flyby of Jupiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill, © CC BY

Within the course of, Juno is certain to beam again extra pictures of the most important planet in our photo voltaic system and its neighboring worlds.

Swirling cloud belts on Jupiter's surface.

Colourful swirling cloud belts span Jupiter’s floor.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Tanya Oleksuik (CC BY NC SA 3.0)

Correction: February 21, 2024 — An earlier model of this story included an incorrect reference to the area mission Cassini that has been eliminated.

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