NASA news: Jupiter pictured in Juno timelapse of raging cyclone on gas giant | Science | News


The colourful enhanced photographs show the planet’s Northern Hemisphere observed over a period of just 17 minutes.

During the 17 minutes Juno spent orbiting the gas giant, the NASA spacecraft witnessed a weather phenomenon dubbed an anticyclone.

Anticyclones are described by the US National Weather Service as a “large-scale circulation of winds around a central region go high atmospheric pressure.”

On Earth, anticyclones spin clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern parts of the globe.

Perhaps the most famous anticyclone in the solar system is Jupiter’s so-called Great Red Spot.

The monstrous swirling storm is very much similar to an earthly hurricane but much larger – about twice the size of Earth.

Winds inside of the Great Red Spot reach up to 270mph (434.5kmh).

This particular anticyclone in the  pictures was dubbed N5-AWO.

NASA said: “An anticyclonic white oval, called N5-AWO, can be seen at centre left of the first image at the far left and appears slightly higher in the second and third images.”

If you look closely at the picture you will also spot a Jovian tempest dubbed the Little Red Spot towards the bottom of the first three pictures.

The Little Red Spot is a storm very similar to its bigger namesake and is a massive, counterclockwise rotating storm in the Southern Hemisphere.

The last two pictures snapped by Juno feature a reddish-orange band of colour known as the North Temperate Belt.

The US agency said: “It rotates in the same direction as the planet and is predominantly cyclonic, which in the northern hemisphere means its features spin in a counter-clockwise direction.”

NASA’s Juno spacecraft snapped the five-picture timelapse between 9.45pm and 10.11pm Pacific Time on July 15, last month.

Juno took the photos on its 14th close flyby of the planet, dipping to an altitude between 15,700 to 3,900 miles (25,300 to 6,200km) from Jupiter’s cloud tops.

The photos were taken by Juno’s JunoCam imager but the colour-enhanced pictures seen here today were meticulously processed by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

All Jupiter pictures snapped by the Juno mission are readily available to browse through online.

NASA strongly encourages members of the public to download, enhance, process and share their takes on Juno’s photos.

Every once in a while, NASA’s team of scientists will select the most stunning processed picture they come across and share it with the world.

If you are lucky enough, you might even have one of you own Juno pictures selected for recognition.

NASA’s raw Jupiter pictures are free to browse and download here.



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