Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Orbiting Jupiter

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What would it be like to orbit Jupiter? The dramatic featured video depicts just this and was made from images taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft currently orbiting the Jovian giant. Juno recently completed its sixth pass near Jupiter during its looping elliptical six-week orbit. As the time-lapse video starts, alternating dark and light cloud bands passed underneath the spacecraft as it approaches Jupiter's South Pole. These clouds contain complex textures involving eddies, swirls, ovals, and extended clouds that are have no direct analog from Earth. As the spacecraft passes beneath Jupiter, new cloud patterns devoid of long bands emerge but are again rich with alien swirls and ovals. Over the next few years, Juno will continue to orbit and probe Jupiter, determine atmospheric water abundance, and attempt to determine if Jupiter has a solid surface underneath these fascinating clouds.

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