Juno’s Latest Greatest Jupiter Views

This photo was taken by Juno on March 27 and shows Jupiter in a phase (similar to the first quarter moon) not seen from Earth. It also features the planet’s south polar region, rich with spinning storm bigger than typical hurricanes on Earth. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

The photos from the March 27 close flyby of Juno have arrived, so enjoy the sights from planet five! Juno skimmed just 2,700 miles (4,400 km) over Jupiter’s cloud tops on March 27 to take these photos of the south pole. So many swirls, each a spinning storm cell — it feels like looking down on a curly-headed kid.

This animation is composed of six images obtained by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on March 27, 2017. You get a sense of going along for the ride as the perspective changes caused by the fast-moving spacecraft. At the time it was tearing along at 129,000 mph. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major

Clouds at both poles are bluer than other regions of the planet and the familiar pattern of parallel alternating belts of dark cloud belts separated by lighter “zones” is absent. Instead we see a sea of storm cells bobbing about ribbony clouds of ammonia ice. A planet as alien as they come.

A few more …

An Earth-sized storm caught by Juno on March 27 looks like the iris of a old camera shutter. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major
Gervasio Robles put together three separate Juno March 27 images to show Jupiter’s elusive south pole in full view. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS
A nice big slice of Jupiter showing a great variety of clouds and storm cells seen on March 27. Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Valmir M. Morais
Illustration showing Juno flying over one of Jupiter’s poles. After its close flyby on March 27, the probe loops away from the planet to protect its sensitive electronics before plunging back down for the next close flyby, called perijove 6, on May 19. Credit: NASA

Jupiter is currently visible in the southeastern sky around 10 p.m. local time. Look for a brilliant “star” in that direction. Directly below or south of Jupiter, you’ll also see Virgo’s brightest star, Spica.