NASA’s Juno spacecraft continues to send back stunning images of the giant planet, including this view captured on 23 May at a distance of 7,900 kilometres (4,900 miles) during the probe’s 13th close flyby. For orientation, south is at upper left while north is toward lower right. The North Temperate Belt is the reddish-orange band just left of center, which rotates in the same direction as the planet. To the left of the belt is the bright North North Temperate Zone with high clouds likely made up of ammonia-ice or, possibly, ammonia ice and water. Darker regions are thought to be areas where clouds extend deeper into the atmosphere with warmer emissions detected by Juno’s infrared senors. Jupiter’s atmospheric bands become less evident toward the north polar regions at lower right where multiple cyclones and darker anticyclones rotate.
UK observers with a clear sky an hour before sunrise on Friday 28 October should look very low in the east-southeast to see the slim crescent of the 27-day-old Moon less than four lunar diameters away from largest planet Jupiter. The Moon and Jupiter are also joined by third-magnitude double star gamma (γ) Virginis, commonly known as Porrima.
Jupiter, the Solar System’s largest planet, reaches opposition on the evening of 7 April and lies closest to Earth for 2017 the following night. Don’t miss the 14-day-old Moon passing close by on the night of 10 April too. Here’s our comprehensive guide to what to see on Jupiter and phenomena of its bright moons for the month ahead.