August 27, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured stunning images of Jupiter’s north pole. According to NASA, the images were taken from 2,500 miles above Jupiter’s clouds, during the first of 36 flybys Juno will make around the planet. “First glimpse of Jupiter’s north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms. There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to — this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter. We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features” (NASA.gov, 2016). The Juno spacecraft launched on August 5, 2011 and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.
More information on the Juno mission is available at these sites:
NASA.gov (2016). Jupiter’s North Pole Unlike Anything Encountered in Solar System. NASA.gov. Retrieved from: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/jupiter-s-north-pole-unlike-anything-encountered-in-solar-system