This gorgeous picture of Jupiter from NASA is just what we need right now

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this view of Jupiter's southern hemisphere on Feb. 17, 2020.  (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill, © CC BY)

Even as Earth is in turmoil, NASA continues to share amazing pictures from across the solar system — allowing us to (virtually) travel far while staying in place.

There's no better example than a stunning new picture of Jupiter based on data from NASA's Juno spacecraft. The image shows the world's southern hemisphere in all its glory, including the whirls of the giant planet's atmosphere and its classic bands and stripes.

The window on Jupiter is a combination of four images that the onboard camera JunoCam took on Feb. 17, 2020; citizen-scientist Kevin M. Gill assembled the images into this stunning view. As it captured the images, Juno was orbiting between 30,700 and 62,400 miles (49,500 and 100,400 kilometers) above Jupiter's clouds.

Related: JunoCam images: Where science meets art and NASA meets the public

The primary goal of the Juno spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter in 2016, is to help scientists understand how Jupiter formed and evolved, according to NASA. Jupiter is the largest planet of our solar system. Studying it allows scientists to learn about how other large planets formed and to track how Jupiter has influenced the orbits of small worlds like asteroids, among other studies.

"Not only is Jupiter the largest planet orbiting the sun, it contains more than twice the amount of material of all other objects in the solar system combined — including all the planets, moons, asteroids and comets," NASA said in a news release accompanying the new picture. "In composition, Jupiter resembles a star, and scientists estimate that if it had been at least 80 times more massive at its formation, it could have become a type of star called a red dwarf rather than a planet."

If you have some extra time on your hands while remaining at home, NASA welcomes you to play with the Jupiter images yourself. The raw images are available here, and when you're finished, you can post them to the JunoCam website using the "Upload" button at the upper-right-hand corner.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.  

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: