Earlier this year, NASA announced that its Juno spacecraft was in the midst of entering Jupiter's orbit. That made it the very first to do so successfully. Scientists around the world are excited at what information Juno will provide those in the ground. Naturally, as no other machine has gotten this close, Juno has also provided the most spectacular images of Jupiter and its moons.
As ABC News reports, the images were released on Tuesday. In the same, Jupiter is in the middle of three of its largest moons. The photo was taken as Juno was making its rounds 3 million miles away.
As Juno was approaching the planet, its cameras and some of its other instruments were turned off. This was done in order to help shield the spacecraft from the planet's radiation. Several days after the initial entry, they were turned on again.
There is plenty of curiosity about Jupiter, especially its specific makeup underneath the cloud of gas that is always surrounding it. There are, however, some facts about Jupiter that are already proven true.
1. Jupiter was discovered by ancient Babylonians
That is, according to Space-Facts.Com, Ancient Babylonians were the first to ever record their sightings of Jupiter. It happened as early as the 7th century BC and the planet is named after the king of the Roman gods. On the other hand, it represented Zeus, god of thunder, to the Greeks. Yet still, the Mesopotamians regarded Jupiter as the god Marduk, the patron of Babylon. Meanwhile, German tribes believed Thor was represented by the planet.
2. Jupiter has a long orbit cycle
Unlike the Earth's 365 day orbit around the Sun, Jupiter takes 11.8 years to make one full circle.
3. Jupiter has a short day
Despite the length of time it takes to orbit the Sun, a day in Jupiter lasts only 9 hours and 55 minutes.
4. Jupiter has a constant storm
The Great Red Spot that is found by Jupiter is actually a storm. As far as man can tell, it has been going on for the last 350 years. Further, it is so large that three Earths could fit into the storm.
5. Juno is the 9th spacecraft to make a mission to Jupiter
Preceeding Juno are the Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, Ulysses, and New Horizons missions. However, the earlier missions were either unsuccessful as they entered the orbit of Jupiter, or they were sent to focus more on its moons.
Juno will continue to explore Jupiter for the next 20 months, after it has journeyed for 5 years. The next set of photos will be coming next month, when Juno orbits back.