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.”
Set your alarm for 6am GMT if you wish to see three naked-eye planets in the UK dawn sky this week. Find a location that offers an unobstructed view of the horizon from southeast to south and let the waning Moon be your guide to locating Jupiter, Mars and Saturn on successive mornings from 7 to 11 February.
With the opposition of Jupiter occurring on 9 May, now is the time to ensure that your telescope is clean and collimated (aligned) to deliver the sharpest images of the solar system’s largest planet at its best. We tell you when and how to view Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and a wealth of Galilean moon phenomena throughout May 2018.