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.”
If you have a clear sky to the southeast an hour before sunrise on the morning of Friday, 6 November you will be greeted by a pairing of the old, waning crescent Moon with largest planet Jupiter. Then, on Saturday, 7 November, a slimmer crescent Moon joins planets Mars and Venus for an even closer triple conjunction. Have your binoculars and cameras ready!
Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, is now visible low in the southeast three hours after darkness falls in the UK. Now’s the time to dust off your telescope, check its optical alignment and hone your Jovian observing skills – particularly since a series of double shadow transits of the planet’s large Galilean moons starts on 24 March 2018.