NASA’s Juno probe (launched in 2011) landed on Jupiter last summer, and what they discovered was a “a complex, gigantic, turbulent world” with storms as big as the planet Earth.
NASA recently released images from the early days of observation, and they are out of this world.
This is Jupiter’s south pole, from about 32,000 mile away. The swirling storms you see are cyclones 600-miles wide in diameter.
These images of Jupiter was a surprise to the Juno team—they were puzzles by the mass of cyclones across its south pole, unlike the north pole.
“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “There is so much going on here that we didn’t expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”
“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Bolton. “On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system — one that every school kid knows — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”