- No Place Like Home
Behold, This Is Our First Picture of Jupiter’s North Pole
The planet’s northern cap is not quite what scientists expected, with oddly blue clouds and a sprinkling of circular storms.
Seen in the infrared, Jupiter looks like a slowly spinning molten sphere, crisscrossed by rings of fire and swirling conflagrations. Of course, that’s not how the solar system’s largest planet actually looks—it’s a chilly, gassy world with a big red pockmark and multicolored bands of clouds—but that’s the view the Juno spacecraft’s aurora-mapping instrument just sent back to Earth.
Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, when the craft endured a heart-stopping maneuver to safely orbit the giant world. But it took a few weeks for Juno to send pictures back to Earth, because instruments that has been sleeping during the make-or-break orbit insertion needed to be fired back up while Juno dropped into a more snuggly orbit.