Skip to main content

Colorful Clouds Churn on Jupiter in Stunning NASA Juno Image

Jupiter's south pole
Clouds swirl around Jupiter's south pole in this colorful image taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft on Feb. 7, 2018. Citizen scientist Gerald Gerald Eichstädt processed the image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam. (Image credit: Gerald Eichstadt/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this stunning image of Jupiter's south pole during a close flyby of the planet on Feb. 7. 

The view reveals colorful cloud formations swirling around the south pole along with several white, oval-shaped storms known as the "string of pearls."

Citizen scientist Gerald Gerald Eichstädt created the color-enhanced view of Jupiter using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager. When Juno captured the image, the spacecraft was 74,896 miles (120,533 kilometers) from Jupiter's cloud tops at 84.9 degrees south latitude. [Gallery: Jupiter Shines in Scientific and Artistic Images by Citizen Scientists]

"This image is one in a series of images taken in an experiment to capture the best results for illuminated parts of Jupiter's polar region," NASA officials said in a statement.

To enhance some of the features along Jupiter's terminator, or the line where day meets night, the Juno team "adjusted JunoCam so that it would perform like a portrait photographer taking multiple photos at different exposures," NASA officials said. The team was "hoping to capture one image with the intended light balance," the officials said.

"For JunoCam to collect enough light to reveal features in Jupiter's dark twilight zone, the much brighter, illuminated dayside of Jupiter becomes overexposed with the higher exposure," the officials said.

The Juno spacecraft has been taking incredible close-up photos of Jupiter since arriving at the gas giant in 2016. The probe is also conducting research into the planet's weather, composition, magnetic fields and more. 

JunoCam images are available online at, where anyone can download the raw images and share their own color-enhanced or otherwise artfully edited images of Jupiter. 

Email Hanneke Weitering at or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on

SPACE.COM ASSOCIATE EDITOR — Hanneke joined the team at in August 2016 as a staff writer and producer. She has previously written for Scholastic, MedPage Today, Scienceline and Oak Ridge National Lab. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her home town of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: