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NASA's Juno spacecraft gets pictures of Jupiter's 'pearl'

The image was captured by Juno's onboard camera, specially designed to click pictures of Jupiter's poles and cloud tops

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

NASA, Juno mission, Jupiter
493 million miles from the sun, NASA's Juno spacecraft is most distant solar-powered explorer. (Photo: Official Twitter Handle of NASA)

NASA's solar-powered spacecraft has captured the seventh of Jupiter's eight features forming a 'string of pearls' - massive counter-clockwise rotating storms that appear as white ovals in the gas giant planet's southern hemisphere.

The image was taken by the spacecraft's imager onboard. Since 1986, these white ovals have varied in number from six to nine. There are currently eight white ovals visible.

The image was taken on December 11 as the spacecraft performed its third close flyby of

At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 24,600 kilometres from the planet, said.

is a colour, visible-light camera designed to capture remarkable pictures of Jupiter's poles and cloud tops.

As Juno's eyes, it will provide a wide view, helping to provide context for the spacecraft's other instruments.

was included on the spacecraft specifically for purposes of public engagement; although its images will be helpful to the science team, it is not considered one of the mission's science instruments, said.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

First Published: Wed, December 14 2016. 13:32 IST