NASA’s Juno spacecraft now orbiting Jupiter is equipped with instruments designed to study the giant planet’s interior. But it also carries a public-outreach camera known as JunoCam that sends back imagery that is processed by citizen scientists. Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran have combined to produce stunning views of Jupiter, including this image captured by Juno after its 12th close approach, providing a unique view showing the Great Red Spot in all its glory as if it’s in the northern hemisphere. The raw imagery was captured on 1 April over a span of about 32 minutes at altitudes between 17, 329 and 68,959 kilometres (10,7678 and 42,849 miles). The image is a composite of several shots that NASA says were “re-projected, blended and healed.”
Two days after NASA’s Juno spacecraft streaked over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, pictures of the solar system’s largest, most powerful storm, have been transmitted to Earth, giving eager scientist close-up views of the 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone where 400-mph winds have been howling for at least 187 years and possibly much longer.
The impact of a small comet or asteroid on Jupiter observed by European amateur astronomers on 17 March has heightened interest in the solar system’s largest planet. While such an event is uncommon, Jupiter and its family of four bright Galilean moons provide a wealth of other interesting phenomena to view with small telescopes during April.
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.