The Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter’s poles continues to send back jaw-dropping views of the giant planet’s turbulent atmosphere, including this down-the-throat look into a 2,000-kilometre-wide (1,200 miles) cyclonic storm at 49 degrees north latitude. Jupiter is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium, but some of the colour in the clouds seen here may be the result of sulphur and phosphorus gases rising from the warmer interior. Citizen-scientist Kevin M. Gill processed this image, captured by the Junocam instrument on 3 November at an altitude of about 8,500 kilometres (5,300 miles) during Juno’s 23rd close flyby.
Early risers will already be aware that there’s currently a lot of planetary activity in the morning sky, but at dawn in Western Europe on Monday, 2 April, Mars and Saturn will be just 1¼ degrees apart and seen in the same field of view of telescopes at 30x magnification. The waning Moon is close by on the mornings of 7 & 8 April too.
It currently pays to be an early riser if you wish to view the planets, for it’s all happening at dawn in the skies of Western Europe. Find innermost planet Mercury, see a near miss of Mars and Jupiter on 7 January, then a fabulous binocular conjunction of the waning crescent Moon, the Red planet and Jupiter on 11 January!