While we marvel and get humbled at the natural events and phenomenon on our little planet, they are next to nothing when compared to the galactic storm that itself is twice as wide as our Earth on a planet 11 times our size; the Jupiter. The western part of the massive planet, know as the Great Red Spot, is ridden by brutal and gigantic swirling mess of clouds, blocking our sight to the planet’s surface. But thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft and a very talented citizen scientist, we finally have acquired the most revealing and high-res image of this region!
The photo above was taken as part of the JunoCam community’s project on December 11th, 2016, which was then enhanced by citizen scientist Sergey Dushkin making the spacecraft Juno’s raw images even more mesmerizing! The photo shows the turbulent region of Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt that could easily be mistaken for a nice, hot cup of coffee with cream but actually is a humongous raging storm, depicting how there can be beauty even in utter destruction and chaos!
Here’s the raw, unedited image:
In case you are wondering about the weird shape of the picture, it is because Juno is in a polar orbit, so composite images of half-orbits like this are going to be hourglass-shaped.
NASA writes about the astonishing snap,
“NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this image with its JunoCam citizen science instrument when the spacecraft was a mere 5,400 miles (8,700 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloudtops on Dec. 11, 2016 at 9:14 a.m. PT (12:14 p.m. ET). Citizen scientist Sergey Dushkin produced the sublime color processing and cropped the image to draw viewers’ eyes to the dynamic clouds.”
The Juno spacecraft has been orbiting the gaseous planet since July 4th, 2016. On February 17th on this year, NASA came with a bad news that due to an engine anomaly, the spacecraft would remain in a 53.5-day orbit for the rest of its life. This is somewhat frustrating since we will not get as many high-quality pictures and information from the flybys as we would have with shorter orbits.