Jupiter looks like a tropical paradise in a new image shared by NASA, with deep blue oceans and fiery sunsets at both poles. It’s almost a place you’d want to visit. Almost.
The first, a composite false-color infrared image, reveals haze particles over a range of altitudes, according to NASA. Amazingly, the image was snapped by the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. I can’t stop staring at its hypnotic beauty.
The second image is in stark contrast to the first, using a mid-infrared filter to give the planet a hellish hue.
In both images, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, which scientists believe is diminishing in size, stands out as a natural beauty mark. NASA says the images will assist scientists when its Juno spacecraft flies over the feature at an altitude of only 5,600 miles.
Juno’s encounter with the centuries old storm will be its closest approach to Jupiter of its current orbit.
“Observations with Earth’s most powerful telescopes enhance the spacecraft’s planned observations by providing three types of additional context,” explained Juno science team member Glenn Orton. “We get spatial context from seeing the whole planet. We extend and fill in our temporal context from seeing features over a span of time. And we supplement with wavelengths not available from Juno. The combination of Earth-based and spacecraft observations is a powerful one-two punch in exploring Jupiter.”
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a 10,000-mile-wide storm that humans have been monitoring as early as the 1830s. Juno’s flyby will provide scientists with answers for what makes the storm tick and why it’s so special.
Since its arrival at Jupiter one-year ago, NASA’s Juno has travelled 71 million miles around the planet.