The Juno spacecraft has sent stunning set of 3D infrared images of giant cycles on Jupiter it captured while orbiting the gaseous giant.
Juno has been regularly sending data and pictures of Jupiter while orbiting the planet in an elliptical orbit allowing it to pass Jupiter’s poles every 53.5 days. The 3D images captured by Juno have been used to make a 3D animation video that was presented during the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, April 11.
The 120-second long animation video has been created using pictures collected by the spacecraft’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument during a flyby in early 2017. The instrument is able to capture light being emitted by Jupiter regardless of the time of the day and penetrate 30 to 45 miles below the clouds swirling around the planet.
The pictures were captured during Juno’s fourth close flyby of the planet, which sits 600 million miles (970 million km) from Earth. The video shows the densely packed cyclones and anticyclones that spread through Jupiter’s Polar Regions, boasting wind speeds as high as 220 miles per hour (350 kph).
According to NASA, the images showcased the shape and structure of the nine cyclones at Jupiter’s North Pole, with diameters ranging from 2,500 to 2,900 miles (4,000 to 4,700 km). In the animation video, dark red clouds were measured at -188°C (181°F) and bright yellow clouds clocked in at -12°C (9°F).
Juno co-investigator Alberto Adriani from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome, said in a statement that before the launch of Juno, they could only guess how Jupiter’s poles would look like. But, now, with Juno flying over the poles at a close distance, they have access to infrared imagery on Jupiter’s polar weather patterns and its massive cyclones.
Juno is set to make its 12th scientific pass around Jupiter on May 24.