Jovian clouds are completely astounding, as much of the footage from NASA’s Juno spacecraft has revealed in the last two years since the space probe has been orbiting Jupiter.
For instance, during the spacecraft’s 13th flyby of Jupiter on May 23, the JunoCam took spectacular photos of the gas giant’s blue clouds and its Giant White Spot, the Inquisitr reported at the time.
Its latest close skim over Jupiter’s surface on July 16 allowed Juno to snag yet another amazing photo of the planet’s atmosphere, capturing high-altitude Jovian clouds in an eerie display.
The snapshot, released by NASA on July 20, showcases “a high-altitude cloud formation surrounded by swirling patterns,” photographed in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s incredible North Temperate Belt — a colorful and eye-catching cloud band in the planet’s northern hemisphere.
Taken on July 16 at 1:11 a.m. EDT (10:11 p.m. PDT on July 15), the Juno image reveals what Jupiter’s high-altitude clouds look like from a distance of 3,900 miles (6,200 kilometers).
As the Inquisitr recently reported, this was Juno’s 14th flyby of Jupiter and the 13th science pass through the planet’s system with the scientific instruments on board the space probe being active and recording data.
Positioned at a latitude of 36 degrees above the planet’s cloud tops, the spacecraft was able to investigate just how deep Jovian cloud bands, such as the North Temperate Belt, actually go.
“Scientists have wondered for decades how deep these bands extend,” NASA officials explained in the photo release, stating that Juno has finally succeeded in coming up with the answer, thanks to the gravity measurements collected during this latest flyby.
“Juno discovered that these bands of flowing atmosphere actually penetrate deep into the planet, to a depth of about 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers),” NASA revealed.
This is the second flyby in a row that the JunoCam chooses to focus on the North Temperate Belt. A previous photo from the May 23 incursion in Jupiter’s system captures this fascinating region from further away, at a distance of 4,900 miles (7,900 kilometers), and in a completely different view that features its spectacular vortices.
“The North Temperate Belt is the prominent reddish-orange band left of center. 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 officials wrote in the photo release, while also drawing attention to the two gray-colored anticyclones found within the belt.
According to Space.com, Juno’s camera chooses its photo targets based on public voting ahead of each Jupiter flyby. NASA then releases the JunoCam raw footage on the mission’s website, where citizen scientists can look them up and process them into the glorious Jupiter photos that we know and love.
This latest Juno image was processed by citizen scientist Jason Major.