Jupiter closeup by Juno

Who knew that NASA was in the art business?

NASA unveiled a remarkable image of Jupiter’s northern hemisphere on its website, reminiscent of one of Vincent Van Gogh most famous paintings works, “The Starry Night.”

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The images come courtesy of the Juno spacecraft, which recently had its 13th close flyby of the planet.

“The region seen here is somewhat chaotic and turbulent, given the various swirling cloud formations,” NASA said on its website. “In general, the darker cloud material is deeper in Jupiter’s atmosphere, while bright cloud material is high. The bright clouds are most likely ammonia or ammonia and water, mixed with a sprinkling of unknown chemical ingredients.”


The image shown above was taken on 1:23 a.m. EDT on May 24, as Juno was approximately 9,600 miles above Jupiter’s clouds, above a northern latitude of 56 degrees.

NASA added that citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created the image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.

The government space agency called out the bright oval at the bottom center of the image, stating that it appears white in ground-based telescope observations and that there isn’t any significant motion in the interior of the oval.

Thanks to JunoCam, NASA is able to see the additional structures in the weather system in the interior of this feature, though it added that there is not significant motion because, “like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, its winds probably slow down greatly toward the center.”

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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