Published:  11:41 AM, 12 October 2019

NASA's Juno spacecraft captures Jupiter's swirling clouds

NASA's Juno spacecraft captures Jupiter's swirling clouds


NASA's Juno spacecraft has captured swirling clouds in the region of Jupiter's northern hemisphere known as "Jet N4," according to a latest release of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Jupiter spins once every 10 hours, and this fast rotation creates strong jet streams, separating its clouds into dark belts and bright zones that stretch across the face of the planet.

More than a dozen prevailing winds sweep over Jupiter, some reaching more than 480 km per hour at the equator, according to JPL.

Citizen scientist Bjorn Jonsson created an enhanced-color image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager.

The raw image was taken on Sept. 11 as Juno performed its 22nd close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 12,140 km from the cloud tops at a latitude of 45 degrees, said JPL.

Juno was launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the southern U.S. state of Florida, and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

Juno's principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Its tasks include looking for a solid planetary core, mapping magnetic fields, measuring water and ammonia, and observing the planet's auroras.

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