Beautiful New Photo of Jupiter Looks Like a Painting

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At the time of closest approach, Juno was about 2,700 miles (4,400 km) above the planet's cloud tops, traveling at a speed of about 129,000 mph (57.8 km per second) relative to Jupiter.

According to it, Juno's instruments were fully functional during the flyby. A new photo captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft falls into that category, and oh what a sight it is.

Launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Juno arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

All of Juno's eight science instruments were up and running, collecting data about the planet's atmosphere, electromagnetic fields and gravity.

The flyby was the first performed by Juno since NASA managers chose to keep the craft in its current orbit, scrapping plans to ratchet down into a tighter orbit that would take it by Jupiter once every two weeks.

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Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said that this will be their fourth science pass the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission "We are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal". Exactly what internal processes drive these storms is something the Juno mission team hopes to discover in the months ahead. The Juno team is still working to analyze data from this and the last four flybys and expect to publish new research papers with science results within the next four months, they added. Close flybys can occur only once every 53 Earth days.

Juno soared over Jupiter's south pole when JunoCam acquired this image on March 27, 2017.

The decision avoids using the suspect propulsion system and keeps Juno out of Jupiter's shadow through 2019, when the spacecraft's power-generating solar panels might otherwise have been robbed of sunlight.

During these flybys, Juno probes beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. At that moment, the spacecraft was some 2,700 miles over the gas giant's cloud tops. If you're interested in trying your hand at processing images from the mission, you can download them to your heart's content, then reupload them to the NASA gallery here. This enhanced color version highlights the bright high clouds and numerous meandering oval storms.