Jupiter Spacecraft Captures Image Of Towering Polar Storms

By Sara Hammond
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 3:33pm
Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 3:37pm

(Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)
NASA's Juno spacecraft took this image of swirling cyclones at Jupiter's north pole in August 2016.

A spacecraft taking pictures of Jupiter with a camera that a Tucson-based scientist manages has sent back pictures of a storm that would dwarf any earthbound hurricane.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft made a first pass by Jupiter in August, and its instruments were turned on just to test them. The camera pictured a storm more than half the size of Earth.

Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson says what her camera captured amazed everyone.

"We always thought we would do some science with JunoCam," she said.

Mission leader Scott Bolton said the data returned by the camera and other instruments is providing new information about Jupiter.

“We’ve never been this close to Jupiter. Each data set is remarkably unique and discovery-like. We’re seeing things that we didn’t expect across the board,” Bolton said.

The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for at least the next 14 months, sending back pictures and other data.

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