Ride with NASA’s Juno orbiter over turbulent Jupiter

Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Take a trip around Jupiter with NASA’s Juno spacecraft in a time-lapse animation created from a sequence of images taken during the probe’s last close-up flyby of the gas giant May 19.

The orbiter’s JunoCam imager repeatedly scanned across the planet as the craft soared over Jupiter’s north pole, passed within around 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) from its turbulent cloud tops, then sailed back into deep space over the south pole.

Juno is in an egg-shaped elliptical orbit that takes it around Jupiter once every 53 days, venturing several million miles from the planet before swinging back in for high-speed, close-up encounters less than 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) above its atmosphere.

The May 19 flyby was Juno’s seventh passage near Jupiter, including the spacecraft’s arrival maneuver last July, and the fifth time it has made the approach with its scientific instruments close-up.

Officials post raw data from JunoCam on the mission’s website for space enthusiasts, artists and imaging experts not affiliated with the Juno team to analyze and render with their own work.

The animation posted above was created by Gerald Eichstädt, a space enthusiast from Germany, and Seán Doran in London.

Doran said the animation, which runs more than a minute, uses 31 JunoCam images projected onto about 3,000 frames.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

Juno’s other instruments are studying Jupiter’s internal structure, atmosphere and magnetic field, aiming to sort out the planet’s mysterious past and origin.

Learn more about Juno’s discoveries.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.