NASA’s Earth-bound Gemini North telescope has beamed back a stunning image of Jupiter showing haze particles over a range of altitudes, as seen in reflected sunlight.
As the Juno spacecraft orbits Jupiter, the Gemini telescope is providing high-resolution images to help guide its exploration of the giant planet.
Astronomers at the telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii are revealing “a treasure-trove of fascinating events in Jupiter’s atmosphere,” said Glenn Orton, principal investigator for the Gemini adaptive optics investigation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.
In addition to images using adaptive optics, Michael Wong from University of California, Berkeley in the US is using a longer-wavelength filter on the telescope to look at cloud opacity on the planet.
“These observations trace vertical flows that cannot be measured any other way, illuminating the weather, climate and general circulation in Jupiter’s atmosphere,” Mr. Michael said.
“Events like this show that there’s still much to learn about Jupiter’s atmosphere,” Mr. Orton said.
“The combination of Earth-based and spacecraft observations is a powerful one-two punch in exploring Jupiter,” he said.
NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot, the gas giant's iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity's first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature -- a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.
"Jupiter's mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special."
When clicked, the closeup imagery of Jupiter's Great Red Spot will be the first time humanity gets to witness the gigantic storm up close. The storm has been monitored since 1830 and has been in existence for more than 350 years.
With inputs from PTI