On July 5, 2022, NASA’s Juno probe did its 43rd close flyby of Jupiter. It studied the colors and shapes of the clouds on the giant planet.
Bjorn Jónsson, a citizen scientist, used raw data from the JunoCam instrument on the spacecraft to make these two photos. When the raw photo was taken, Juno was about 3,300 miles (5,300 km) away from Jupiter’s cloud tops and about 50 degrees north of the planet. The north is on the rise. At the time, the spacecraft was moving away from the earth at about 209,000 km per hour (130,000 mph).
The first picture (on the left) was changed to show the colors that a human eye would see from Juno’s point of view. Jónsson changed the second picture (on the right) digitally to increase the saturation and contrast of the colors, sharpen small details, and reduce the compression artifacts and noise that are common in raw photos. This clearly shows some of Jupiter’s most interesting features, such as how its colors change because of changes in its chemical makeup, how its swirling vortices are three-dimensional, and how its upper atmosphere has little bright clouds that “pop up.”
The raw photos from JunoCam are available for viewing and processing into image products at https://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing. NASA citizen science information can be found at https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience and https://www.nasa.gov/solve/opportunities/citizenscience.
Juno can be found at https://www.nasa.gov/juno and https://missionjuno.swri.edu. More information about this discovery and other scientific findings may be found at https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/science-findings.