NASA’s spacecraft Juno captures mesmerizing images of Jupiter’s cloud tops.

Juno is the furthest solar-powered spacecraft ever to be sent into space. It has been orbiting Jupiter since July 5, 2016.

The spacecraft is currently 500 million miles away from Earth and traveling at a speed of 127,000 mph.

Throughout its four years in elliptical polar orbit, it has been researching Jupiter.

The polar orbit sees Juno spending a fair distance away from the gas giant planet.

However, for every 53 days, the orbit allows Juno to get close to Jupiter’s cloud tops, though for a short time.

This Proximity Allows Juno to Take Some of Jupiter’s Magnificent Imagery

nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops
nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It also rotates the fastest – a full day in Jupiter is in just 10 hours.

This rapid rotation leads to the creation of strong jet streams that separate Jupiter’s clouds into ‘bright zones and dark belts.’

nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops
nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops

These jets of streams then wrap around the planet, creating a mesmerizing display.

And Juno captures a close glimpse of the cloud tops every time it gets closer to Jupiter.

nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops
nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops

With a small camera, ‘JunoCam,’ on Juno, we regular people can gaze in awe at this planet. The Juno camera is mainly for outreach.

Juno’s Primary Purpose is to Study Various Aspects of Jupiter

For example, it assesses Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, 384mph winds, and famously powerful storms.

In comparison to Earth, Jupiter has some seriously dramatic storms.

nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops
nasa spacecraft juno sends back stunning images taken near jupiter cloud tops

Thunderheads reach five times higher than those we experience on our planet – approximately 40 miles from base to top.

Meanwhile, lightning flashes can be up to three times more energetic than even the biggest ‘super bolts’ on Earth.

Jupiter’s lightning acts like radio transmitters, transmitting radio waves alongside visible light as they bolt across the sky. The same happens to Earth’s lightning bolts.

And as Juno orbits closely over these storms, it detects these radio signals called ‘sferics’ and ‘whistlers.’