NASA has released astonishing new images of Jupiter captured by the Juno spacecraft during its latest flyby of the giant planet. The stunning pictures show “pearly white” storms spiraling over Jupiter’s southern hemisphere.
“String of pearls” are a series of eight massive counterclockwise-rotating storms that appear as “white ovals” on Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. Since the “string of pearls” were spotted in 1986, the numbers of white ovals have varied from six to nine, but only eight are currently visible.
The Juno spacecraft’s JunoCam has captured the stunning image of “one of the white ovals” that formed the “string of pearls” on Oct. 24 at 11:11 a.m. PDT (2:11 p.m. EDT), during its ninth close flyby of Jupiter. The spacecraft was 20,577 miles (approx. 33,115 km) above the tops of the clouds of Jupiter when the image of the white oval was taken.
This white oval is “one of the eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet,” NASA officials wrote.
The spatial scale in the image of a mass of spiraling clouds is 13.86 miles/pixel (22.3 kilometers/pixel). It was processed and color-enhanced by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, using data from the JunoCam imager.
“JunoCam is a color, visible-light camera designed to capture remarkable pictures of Jupiter’s poles and cloud tops,” explained NASA officials.
NASA tweeted this mesmerizing image with the caption: “Stunning (adjective) Definition – causing wonder or astonishment.”
“Synonyms – amazing, astonishing, astounding, awesome, eye-opening, fabulous, miraculous, prodigious, staggering, marvelous, stupendous, sublime, surprising, wonderful, wondrous.”
NASA’s Juno space probe was launched six years ago on Aug. 5, 2011. It began entering Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. “JUNO’s goal is to analyze the Jupiter’s characteristics as representative of the giant planets,” wrote Italian Space Agency (ASI) on its website.
“The Solar System’s ‘heavyweight’ can, in fact, offer fundamentally important data not only for gaining deeper knowledge of the origin of the System itself, but also for analyzing those of the planetary systems that are gradually discovered around other stars, with particular reference to those exoplanets that have a similar mass to that of Jupiter.”