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.
In the early evening of Tuesday, 23 February, the rising waning gibbous Moon — one day after full Moon — lies just 3½ degrees from magnitude -2.5 planet Jupiter low in the eastern sky. Jupiter is closest to Earth on Tuesday, 8 March, so now is the time to get acquainted with the solar system’s largest planet.
Astronomers from Boston University have discovered that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) may provide the mysterious source of energy required to heat the planet’s upper atmosphere to the unusually high values observed. Heating in Jupiter’s atmosphere 500 miles above the GRS is thought to be caused by gravity waves and acoustic waves creating turbulent atmospheric flows.