What's new out at Jupiter? We haven't looked in on NASA’s Juno spacecraft since (checks blog archive) May. Juno completed its 14th close flyby of Jupiter on July 15, and as of Tuesday morning, it was 8 million kilometers from Jupiter, gradually working its way back toward the planet following apojove.
And, of course, there are some recent pretty pictures from JunoCam, brought to you by image processors from around the world.
Let's start with a nice wide shot from perijove 14:
Very nice! Let’s get closer for a natural color view:
That swirly storm is not, in fact, the Great Red Spot, though it’s very similar in appearance. It’s a much smaller storm in the South Equatorial Belt. Juno was just 8,000 kilometers above the cloud tops at the time!
Here’s another swirly view:
This shot was taken from about 12,000 kilometers above Jupiter, and like the image before that, it approximates what you’d see with your own eyes if you were an astronaut aboard the spacecraft.
One more natural color image:
This image was taken from just 3,800 kilometers above the cloud tops—less than the distance between New York and Los Angeles! It reminds me of some of Cassini’s final images when it was diving through the rings. At such close ranges, the fine detail you see when viewing gas giants from afar gives way to a more homogenized appearance.
Speaking of detail, here’s a look at some incredible swirls and vortices, some of which have clouds that show vertical relief:
And to finish this postcard roundup, here’s a different version of the above image, zoomed and projected differently. It looks like a fancy coffee drink: