During another close flyby of Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a view of the planet’s northern hemisphere known as a folded filamentary region. NASA described it as “a chaotic, stormy area”. Jupiter has no solid surface in the same way Earth does.
Data collected by Juno indicates that some of the giant planet’s winds run deeper and last longer than similar atmospheric processes on Earth.
Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created the colour-enhanced image using data from the JunoCam camera.
The original image was taken on December 26, 2019.
This is when the Juno spacecraft performed its 24th close flyby of the planet.
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At the time, the spacecraft was about 23,500 kilometres from the tops of Jupiter’s clouds.
Juno’s purpose is to improve NASA’s understanding of the solar system’s beginnings by revealing 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.
As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars.
Jupiter has no solid surface in the same way Earth does.
NASA said: “Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.”
Specifically, the spacecraft will determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
This helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed).
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It will also look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties.
Juno will map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields.
This will reveal the planet’s deep structure.
It will also explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights.
This should provide new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.