What if you could hitch a ride on NASA's Juno spacecraft at Jupiter? We may be stuck on Earth, but the space agency has given us the next best option: a new video flyover of Jupiter based on photos from Juno's recent flyby in June.
The stunning video, which is made up of 41 images captured on June 2, gives us a glimpse of what we'd see if we were able to fly around Jupiter ourselves, combining pictures taken from different angles as the spacecraft sped by the solar system's largest planet.
Throughout the video, we see zoomed-in views of Jupiter's upper atmosphere at Juno's closest approach, when the spacecraft was about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops, as well as zoomed-out views. At the spacecraft's closest point to Jupiter, the gas giant's powerful gravity sped the spacecraft up to an impressive 130,000 mph (209,000 kph) relative to the planet, according to a NASA statement.
In photos: Juno's amazing views of Jupiter
Citizen scientist Kevin Gill created the video with data from Juno's JunoCam, which digitally projects images onto a sphere with a virtual "camera," giving us these beautiful views of Jupiter. These pictures were taken between 5:47 a.m. and 7:25 a.m. EDT (0947 and 1125 GMT) on June 2 as the spacecraft made its 27th close flyby of the planet.
Juno launched in 2011 and, after a five-year trek through space, reached Jupiter in July 2016. The spacecraft circles the solar system's largest planet taking data so we can understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Since its first flyby, Juno has provided incredible information about the planet, including an up-close look at Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a giant storm swirling through the planet's atmosphere.
Though the spacecraft was meant to take a dive into Jupiter's atmosphere in 2018, NASA has extended its mission through 2021.
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Kasandra Brabaw is a freelance science writer who covers space, health, and psychology. She's been writing for Space.com since 2014, covering NASA events, sci-fi entertainment, and space news. In addition to Space.com, Kasandra has written for Prevention, Women's Health, SELF, and other health publications. She has also worked with academics to edit books written for popular audiences.