See Jupiter's South Pole Change Over Time in Incredible Time-Lapse View

Jupiter's south pole
Jupiter's south pole is seen in a series of time-lapse images taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft during its 11th close flyby of the giant planet on Feb. 7, 2018. (Image credit: Gerald Eichstadt/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

You've never seen Jupiter's south pole quite like this.

A new photo by NASA's Juno spacecraft show Jupiter's south pole as seen from above during a recent close encounter on Feb. 7. The photo is actually a series of images taken over time by Juno as the probe whipped around Jupiter during its 11th flyby of the giant planet.  

"At first glance, the series might appear to be the same image repeated," NASA officials wrote in an image description. "But closer inspection reveals slight changes, which are most easily noticed by comparing the far left image with the far right image." [Amazing Jupiter Photos by NASA's Juno Spacecraft]

The time-lapse views of Jupiter were taken over a 40-minute period on Feb. 7, starting at 10:21 a.m. EST (1521 GMT), as Juno passed over Jupiter's south pole. Juno took the photos from distances ranging from 85,292 to 124,856 miles (137,264 to 200,937 kilometers).

"Directly, the images show Jupiter. But, through slight variations in the images, they indirectly capture the motion of the Juno spacecraft itself, once again swinging around a giant planet hundreds of millions of miles from Earth," NASA officials wrote in the image description.

Juno captured the photos with its JunoCam instrument. Those raw images were then processed by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt and assembled into the time-lapse series seen here. Juno's raw images are posted online as they are taken; the public can then review and process these images into amazing (and sometimes strange) views of Jupiter. You can access the JunoCam images here.

NASA launched the $1.1 billion Juno mission in 2011, and the spacecraft arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The spacecraft takes 53 days to make one orbit of Jupiter. That extreme orbit brings the probe within 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of Jupiter's cloud tops at the closest point. 

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).