NASA JUST RELEASED BREATHTAKING PICTURES OF JUPITER

NASA JUST RELEASED BREATHTAKING PICTURES OF JUPITER

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A probe the size of a basketball court has taken unprecedented new images of Jupiter.

NASA’s $1 billion Juno spacecraft, launched in August 2011, took five years to reach and settle into orbit around the gas giant, which is located more than 415 million miles from Earth.

Juno repeatedly swings by Jupiter in a wide arc to minimize time inside the planet’s intense radiation belts, which can damage sensitive electronics.

Now flybys happen about once every 2 months.

Juno completed the fifth such maneuver on March 27, recording a fresh batch of images and streaming that raw data back to Earth. Bow amateur astronomers are beginning to turn the gray, unprocessed photos into brilliant full-color images.

Here are a handful of our favorite shots from the fifth orbit, plus a few other images that space fans have recently uploaded to Juno’s website from previous flybys.

This new image, processed by amateur astronomer Roman Tkachenko, shows Jupiter’s north pole in all its stormy glory.

This new image, processed by amateur astronomer Roman Tkachenko, shows Jupiter's north pole in all its stormy glory.

Another person processed the same raw image to show more green-colored details.

Another person processed the same raw image to show more green-colored details.

And here’s a close-up of Jupiter’s swirling cloud tops.

And here's a close-up of Jupiter's swirling cloud tops.

This shot, put together by Gervasio Robles, merges three Juno flyby images to show Jupiter’s elusive south pole in full view.

This shot, put together by Gervasio Robles, merges three Juno flyby images to show Jupiter's elusive south pole in full view.

Amateur astronomers have also been re-developing older Juno images. The following Jovian cloud top images all came from the probe’s fourth flyby on February 2, 2017.

Amateur astronomers have also been re-developing older Juno images. The following Jovian cloud top images all came from the probe's fourth flyby on February 2, 2017.

NASA’s $1 billion Jupiter probe just sent back breathtaking new images of the gas giant

NASA's $1 billion Jupiter probe just sent back breathtaking new images of the gas giant

NASA’s $1 billion Jupiter probe just sent back breathtaking new images of the gas giant

NASA's $1 billion Jupiter probe just sent back breathtaking new images of the gas giant

Juno’s next flyby of Jupiter should happen around May 19, 2017.

Juno's next flyby of Jupiter should happen around May 19, 2017.

NASA will plunge the spacecraft into Jupiter’s clouds sometime in 2018 or 2019. This will prevent it from spreading any bacteria from Earth onto the gas giant’s icy, ocean-filled moons.

NASA will plunge the spacecraft into Jupiter's clouds sometime in 2018 or 2019. This will prevent it from spreading any bacteria from Earth onto the gas giant's icy, ocean-filled moons.

via: Business Insider

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