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. 

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.