NASA’s Juno spacecraft obtained this colour view on June 21, 2016, at a distance of 10.9 million kilometres from Jupiter.
Juno sent back an image of Jupiter and its four largest moons — which you can see for yourself through a pair of binoculars — while it was just 10.9 million km from the giant gas planet.
“This image is the start of something great,” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “In the future we will see Jupiter’s polar auroras from a new perspective. We will see details in rolling bands of orange and white clouds like never before, and even the Great Red Spot.”
Juno will map the enormous planet’s gravity and magnetic fields, providing scientists with a better understanding of the solar system’s most powerful magnetic field. It will also measure how much water exists in Jupiter’s atmosphere and investigate the planet’s aurorae, what we call northern (or southern) lights here on Earth.
Once Juno is inserted into orbit, it will take 14 days to complete one orbit. Jupiter spins every 10 hours; after 33 planned orbits, the spacecraft will have covered the entire planet.
2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.