NASA’s Juno probe takes an amazing photo of Jupiter’s clouds that look like icing on a cupcake

Like the frosting on a cupcake! Jupiter’s vortexes and cloud peaks are seen in incredible detail in NASA’s stunning new 3D renderings of Juno spacecraft

  • NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been in orbit around Jupiter since it landed on the planet in 2016
  • The stunning photo was taken by JunoCam, the visible light camera aboard Juno
  • They may look like the icing on a cupcake, but the eddies and textured peaks are actually clouds in Jupiter’s skies.

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At first glance, at this photo, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for the close-up of the icing on a delicious cupcake.

But the textured eddies and peaks are actually clouds in Jupiter’s skies, which were photographed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Software developer Gerald Eichstaedt created stunning 3D renderings of the clouds based on data from Juno, which he presented this week at the Europlanet Science Congress.

“The Juno mission offers us the opportunity to observe Jupiter in a way that is essentially inaccessible to Earth-based telescopic observations,” said Dr. Eichstäd.

At first glance, at this photo, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for the close-up of the icing on a delicious cupcake. But the eddies and textured peaks are actually clouds in Jupiter’s skies, which were photographed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Jupiter: The basics

orbital period: 12 years

Distance from the sun: 750 million km

Surface: 61.42 billion km²

radius: 69.911 km

size: 1.898 × ​​10 ^ 27 kg (317.8 M⊕)

Duration of the day: 0d 9h 56m

moons: 53 with formal designations; countless additional moons

“We can look at the same cloud features from very different angles in minutes.

“This has opened up a new opportunity to derive 3D elevation models of Jupiter’s cloud peaks.

“The images of the wonderful chaotic storms on Jupiter seem to come to life, showing clouds rising at different altitudes.”

Juno is a NASA space probe that has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016.

On board, it has a visible light camera called JunoCamera, which regularly takes extraordinary photos of Jupiter and its moons.

Based on the different ways sunlight is reflected and scattered by Jupiter’s clouds, the researchers were able to pinpoint the elevation of the cloud tops in Juno’s photos.

Clouds in the upper atmosphere have the brightest sunlight, Dr. Eichstadt explained.

But the deeper into the atmosphere, the more light is absorbed before being scattered towards the camera by the cloud tops.

Understanding the relative heights of the pointed pillars within the eddies could help scientists reveal more about the elements that compose them.

Software developer Gerald Eichstädt created beautiful 3D renderings based on data from Juno, which he presented at Europlanet Science Congress this week

Software developer Gerald Eichstädt created beautiful 3D renderings based on data from Juno, which he presented at Europlanet Science Congress this week

“From theoretical models, clouds are expected to be composed of different chemical species, ammonia, ammonium hydrosulfide and water ice from top to bottom,” said Dr. Eichstädt.

“Once we have calibrated our data with other measurements of the same cloud tops, we will test and refine the theoretical predictions and have a better 3D picture of the chemical composition.”

The Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year journey 2.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers) from Earth.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit, flying within 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The spacecraft barely grazes 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from the planet’s clouds once every fortnight, too close to provide global coverage in a single image.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in our solar system.It is a massive ball of gas composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, with some heavy elements

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in our solar system.It is a massive ball of gas composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, with some heavy elements

No previous spacecraft has orbited this close to Jupiter, although two others have been sent to plummet to their destruction via its atmosphere.

To complete her risky mission, Juno survived a radiation storm that sizzles the circuit generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.

The vortex of high-energy particles traveling at nearly the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.

To cope with the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-resistant wiring and sensor shielding.

Its all-important “brain” – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in a titanium armored crypt weighing nearly 400 pounds (172 kg).

The craft is expected to study the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2025.

How NASA’s Juno probe on Jupiter will reveal the secrets of the largest planet in the solar system

The Juno probe reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year journey and 1.8 billion miles from Earth

The Juno probe reached Jupiter in 2016 after a five-year journey and 1.8 billion miles from Earth

The Juno probe reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a five-year journey 2.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers) from Earth.

After a successful braking maneuver, it entered a long polar orbit by flying within 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of the planet’s swirling cloud tops.

The spacecraft barely grazed 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from the planet’s clouds once every fortnight, too close to provide global coverage in a single image.

No previous spacecraft has orbited this close to Jupiter, although two others have been sent to plummet to their destruction via its atmosphere.

To complete her risky mission, Juno survived a radiation storm that sizzles the circuit generated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field.

The vortex of high-energy particles traveling at nearly the speed of light is the harshest radiation environment in the solar system.

To cope with the conditions, the spacecraft was protected with special radiation-resistant wiring and sensor shielding.

Its all-important “brain” – the spacecraft’s flight computer – was housed in a titanium armored crypt weighing nearly 400 pounds (172 kg).

The craft is expected to study the composition of the planet’s atmosphere until 2025.

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