NASA’s Juno spacecraft carried out its 16th close flyby of Jupiter on 29 October, sailing just 7,000 kilometres (4,400 miles) above the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere. This Junocam image was processed by citizen scientists Seán Doran and Gerald Eichstädt, showing bright white “pop-up” clouds and a huge white anticyclonic storm in Jupiter’s North North Temperate Belt. The image is centred on a latitude of about 40 degrees north latitude. Junocam is a public outreach camera and its images are available on line for processing by interested citizen scientists.
Skywatchers in Western Europe looking at the rising 13-day-old gibbous Moon in the south-southeast at dusk on Sunday, 27 May can also see prime-time Jupiter within the same binocular field of view. But look closer in the vicinity of the solar system’s largest planet and you’ll see an easily resolved double star – alpha Librae.
Researchers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Queen’s University in Canada have unravelled the mystery of how Jupiter and Saturn likely formed using computer simulations. The discovery, which changes our view of how all planets might have formed, also suggests that the gas giants in the solar system probably formed before the terrestrial planets.