NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft has beamed back a stunning image of Jupiter's southern hemisphere - showing the swirling colourful clouds and one of the eight massive rotating storms on the gas giant. The image was taken last month, as Juno performed its ninth close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was 33,115 kilometres from the tops of the clouds of the planet. Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstadt and Sean Doran processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager. The image shows Jupiter's southern hemisphere in beautiful detail. The colour-enhanced view captures one of the white ovals in the "String of Pearls" - one of eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet. JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image. Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter.
Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars. With its suite of science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras.
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