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.
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 …
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.