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By Jove! Jupiter Storms Rage in New Juno Photo

Jupiter's raging storms
Citizen scientist Björn Jónsson processed this photo of Jupiter using data gathered by the JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft on Dec. 16, 2017. (Image credit: Björn Jónsson/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

Storms rage on Jupiter in a gorgeous new photo captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft.

Juno snapped the picture with its JunoCam imager on Dec. 16, 2017, during the probe's most recent close flyby of the gas giant. Juno is orbiting Jupiter on a highly elliptical path and makes one such close approach every 54.5 Earth days.

When Juno took the picture, the probe was about 5,460 miles (8,787 kilometers) above Jupiter's swirling cloud tops, NASA officials said. Though the orientation suggests the imaged region is in Jupiter's south, the photo actually depicts an area at about 38 degrees north latitude. [More Spectacular Jupiter Photos by Juno and Citizen-Scientists]

The new photo is a color-enhanced version processed by citizen scientist Björn Jónsson.

"This image has been processed from the raw JunoCam framelets by removing the effects of global illumination," NASA officials wrote in a description of the image, which was released Thursday (Jan. 25). "Jónsson then increased the contrast and color and sharpened small-scale features. The image has also been cropped."

NASA and the Juno team encourage anyone to process JunoCam data into pictures like this one. If you're interested, go to www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.

The $1.1 billion Juno mission launched in August 2011 and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The spacecraft is studying Jupiter's structure, composition, and gravitational and magnetic fields, gathering data that should help scientists better understand how the giant planet, and the solar system in general, came together.

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Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter. 

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