NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, routinely captures stunning views of the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere, providing a treasure-trove of data for researchers and citizen-scientists like Seán Doran, who carries out sophisticated processing of raw imagery from the spacecraft’s JunoCam public-outreach camera. This view captures Jupiter’s Great Red Spot during Juno’s seventh low-altitude pass.
As it orbits Jupiter, the icy surface of Europa heaves and falls with the changing pull of its parent planet’s gravity, creating enough heat to likely support a global ocean beneath the Jovian moon’s solid shell. Experiments by geoscientists suggest that this process, called tidal dissipation, could create far more heat in Europa’s ice than scientists had previously assumed.
It currently pays to be an early riser if you wish to view the planets, for it’s all happening at dawn in the skies of Western Europe. Find innermost planet Mercury, see a near miss of Mars and Jupiter on 7 January, then a fabulous binocular conjunction of the waning crescent Moon, the Red planet and Jupiter on 11 January!