In its closest approaches to Jupiter, here's a stunning sequence of Juno's passing shots! - See pic
In July 2016, scientists at NASA breathed a sigh of relief after the Juno spacecraft slid easily into its destined Jupiter's orbit, ending the five-year-long wait after its August 2011 launch into space.
NASA's Juno mission, ever since, has proved extremely fruitful, especially with its trusted imager JunoCam influencing scientists' perception regarding many findings thereafter.
Space enthusiasts are showered with visual treats from time to time, while also offering splendid insights into the dynamics of the solar system's largest planet.
Now, using the numerous images captured by JunoCam, experts have created enhanced colour-images showing a sequenced glimpse of how how quickly the viewing geometry changes for Juno as it swoops by Jupiter.
According to NASA, the Juno spacecraft swings close to Jupiter once every 53 days, speeding over its clouds. In just two hours, the spacecraft travels from a perch over Jupiter’s north pole through its closest approach (perijove), then passes over the south pole on its way back out. This sequence shows 14 enhanced-color images.
The first image on the left shows the entire half-lit globe of Jupiter, with the north pole approximately in the center. As the spacecraft gets closer to Jupiter, the horizon moves in and the range of visible latitudes shrinks. The third and fourth images in this sequence show the north polar region rotating away from our view while a band of wavy clouds at northern mid-latitudes comes into view. By the fifth image of the sequence the band of turbulent clouds is nicely centered in the image. The seventh and eighth images were taken just before the spacecraft was at its closest point to Jupiter, near Jupiter’s equator. Even though these two pictures were taken just four minutes apart, the view is changing quickly.
As the spacecraft crossed into the southern hemisphere, the bright “south tropical zone” dominates the ninth, 10th and 11th images. The white ovals in a feature nicknamed Jupiter’s “String of Pearls” are visible in the 12th and 13th images. In the 14th image Juno views Jupiter’s south poles.