Mocha Swirls in Jupiter’s Turbulent Atmosphere

Image credit:

Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Image processing by Brian Swift © CC BY

During its 36th low pass over Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this view of striking cloud bands and swirls in the giant planet’s mid-southern latitudes. The dark, circular vortex near the center of the image is a cyclone that spans roughly 250 miles (about 400 kilometers). The color at its center is likely to be the result of descending winds that cleared out upper-level clouds, revealing darker material below.

Citizen scientist Brian Swift used a raw JunoCam image digitally projected onto a sphere to create this view. It has been rotated so that north is up. The original image was taken on Sept. 2, 2021, at 4:09 p.m. PDT (7:09 p.m. EDT). At the time, the spacecraft was about 16,800 miles (about 27,000 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 31 degrees south.

JunoCam’s raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at https://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing. More information about NASA citizen science can be found at https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience and https://www.nasa.gov/solve/opportunities/citizenscience.

 More information about Juno is at https://www.nasa.gov/juno and https://missionjuno.swri.edu. For more about this finding and other science results, see https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/science-findings.