Science

Let this glorious NASA view of Jupiter take your mind off Earth

NASA’s Juno mission captured a look at the gas giant during a close approach in February 2020.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Image processing by Kevin M. Gill

In trying times on Earth, there’s comfort to be taken in knowing our robotic emissaries are still out exploring the solar system and sending back reminders of the beauty of the cosmos. NASA released a new view of Jupiter that could encourage us to take a moment for reflection and wonder.

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Jupiter’s stormy southern hemisphere is on display. The composite image uses four views from NASA’s Juno spacecraft snapped during a close approach of the gas giant in February. Citizen scientist Kevin Gill processed the images to create the final masterpiece. 

“While the universe’s most common elements, hydrogen and helium, make up most of Jupiter’s mass, the striking clouds that are visible at the top of its atmosphere are composed mostly of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide,” NASA said on March 13, slipping some science in to go along with the engrossing visuals.

Juno launched in 2011 and took up residence at Jupiter in 2016. It’s been studying the planet ever since, sending back gorgeous images and valuable data that’s helping scientists learn more about the gas giant’s origin and composition.

Despite its tumultuous atmosphere, Jupiter looks mighty peaceful right now.

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