After a death-defying flyby above the clouds of Jupiter, the Juno probe has caught vivid photographic details on the gigantic planet during it first close approach.These images might potentially explain the bigger picture of how our Solar System came to exist and evolve.
Jupiter's the North Pole And Clouds
Scientists have been surprised upon seeing the pictures taken of Jupiter's North Pole. It's contrary to what they were expecting from the planet. The principal investigator and Southwest Research Institute's Scott Bolton said in a statement that the "first glimpse of Jupiter's north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before."
They noticed that the color of Jupiter's north pole is bluer than the rest of the planet. It also looks like a lot of storms are occurring. They were startled to discover that Jupiter doesn't seem to have latitudinal bands or zones and belts, which they previously thought it possessed. He added that the clouds have shadows. This might suggest that they are at a higher altitude than the other features of the planet.
Jupiter Images Have Made Scientists In Awe
Jonathan Nichols, a member of Juno's science team from the University of Leicester, expressed the excitement that the whole team felt when they saw the spectacular images of Jupiter. In a statement to BBC, Nichols said that "The team's reaction was amazement. 'Look at these images; they are coming from Jupiter; we're flying over the pole for the first time!' It's just jaw-dropping."
The data taken by Juno is 6MB in size. It is still being analysed after it was transmitted to Earth.
The Whole Juno Probe
Doctor Nichols explained that the whole Juno mission might give more answers about our Solar System and the universe in general. As he puts it, the investigation on Jupiter is akin to those on any fast-rotating body with a magnetic field. Through this mission, scientists may be able to tell how deep the roots of Jupiter's Great Red Spot go. They might also determine whether the planet has a solid core or if its gas merely compresses to an ever denser state all the way to the centre. According to BBC, the composition, temperature, motion and other properties of Jupiter's atmosphere will be measured using Juno's remote sensing instruments.
Juno's Death-Defying Approach
Juno arrived at Jupiter on July. According to ExtremeTech, it has encountered a death-defying flyby this week during its first and closest pass to Jupiter's clouds. It had to switch off its camera and other instruments. Engineers did not want to risk any complications in doing otherwise by taking pretty pictures at that time.
Juno will actually do close flyby every 14 days on it's estimated a year and a half orbit. The deep sortie into and back out of the Jovian magnetosphere can be dangerous. It should be done with extreme caution.