New images, obtained by Very Large Telescope, reveal a fiery Jupiter lying in outer space.
After travelling for five years and covering billions of miles, Juno spacecraft is about to arrive at planet Jupiter. But before it enters the orbit of the largest planet in our solar system, NASA has released spectacular new infrared images of Jupiter. Astronomers have captured these fiery images using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and they will use them to stitch together high-resolution map of giant planet. The fresh data will be added as soon as Juno reaches the plant’s orbit and collectively they will help scientists better understand the dynamics of the gas giant.
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“We used a technique called ‘lucky imaging’, whereby individual sharp frames are extracted from short movies of Jupiter to ‘freeze’ the turbulent motions of our own atmosphere, to create a stunning new image of Jupiter’s cloud layers.” Dr Leigh Fletcher from University of Leicester said.
The images were taken between February and June this year to assess how Jupiter’s atmosphere is shifting and changing months prior to Juno’s arrival. These images will serve as the baseline for further observations in the coming months.
“These maps will help set the scene for what Juno will witness in the coming months,” said Fletcher. “Observations at different wavelengths across the infrared spectrum allow us to piece together a three-dimensional picture of how energy and material are transported upwards through the atmosphere.”
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Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011 and is scheduled to reach Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. And will likely beam back never-before-seen stunning close-ups of the planet.