We don’t hear much about the planet Jupiter. But the that’s mainly because it’s so far away and it’s a gas giant. However, NASA has just recently released some amazing photos of the planet that are just absolutely breathtaking. The pictures were taken by NASA’s $1 billion Juno spacecraft that was launched back in August 2011. It were about the size of a basketball court and took five years to reach its destination and settle into orbit over 415 million miles from Earth.
Some of the images captured by Juno include clear pictures of Jupiter’s poles (for the first time), bizarre cloud formations, and mysterious auras. The probe regularly travels past Jupiter in a wide arc, to avoid being damaged by the planet’s devastating radiation belts, which would play havoc with the craft’s sensitive electronics. Juno’s thrusters were once planned to be fired every two weeks, but sticky engine valves put an end to that and instead they’re done around once every two months.
On March 27, 2017, Juno carried out this maneuver for the fifth time capturing fresh images and streaming that raw data back down to experts to analyze down here on Earth. With a little creativity from the astronomers, those gray, dull-looking images are now being transfers into full-color images for all to admire. Some of the images taken from the probe’s fifth orbit have been loaded onto the Juno website where they are among many other astonishing sights.
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