New Jupiter Photo Shows Off the Planet's Swirling Storm Clouds
There's no denying it: Jupiter is an utterly amazing sight to behold, even if it's a place you'd never want to visit in person.
A new photo, taken by NASA's Juno space probe and touched up by scientist/digital artist team Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, shows just how beautiful this distant planet can appear when appreciated in the right light, as colorful, swirling clouds atop Jupiter's gassy exterior make the entire planet look like the solar system's most beautiful marble.
The photo is part of an ongoing community project to adapt and rework pictures taken by NASA's JunoCam in order to get the most out of these images. NASA makes all of its photos and videos available in the public domain, meaning that anyone can rework them without needing to worry about pesky copyright challenges, and the result is some truly spectacular community art projects that show off Jupiter in all its wonder.
High Above the Jovian Clouds: This image of colorful, turbulent clouds in #Jupiter's northern hemisphere was captured during my latest flyby of the planet https://t.co/zQ6OFl5WLC pic.twitter.com/NWMxnJzGwA— NASA's Juno Mission (@NASAJuno) January 4, 2018
In truth, the photos that are received from JunoCam don't look nearly as impressive when they first arrive. There's a lot of polishing, editing, and recoloring to get them to the point where they gleam like shiny glass.
This doesn't mean that Jupiter isn't this naturally pretty - this is as honest as any photoshopped image - but it's hard to capture this majesty on film without a little help. Try taking a photo of the moon on your smartphone, and you'll understand why JunoCam's images might need a little bit of punching up before they accurately reflect real life.
Jupiter is a gas planet with a particularly volatile atmosphere, hence the large, swirling clouds. It wouldn't be much fun to get caught in one of the storms within the planet's atmosphere - there's a reason why Juno hasn't attempted to veer any closer to the biggest planet in our solar system.
While getting close to Jupiter itself might prove difficult, scientists do have an interest in possibly traveling to one of the planet's moons in the near future. The frozen moon Europa has many conditions necessary to sustain life, and as such, it's one place among the nearby planets that scientists often theorize about colonizing one day.
If we ever do get the chance to settle humans on Europa, what a view they'll have: there, hanging in the sky above them, will be the swirling, whirling planet Jupiter, showing off its beautiful storms for all to behold. That would certainly be worth the challenges of living so far away from Earth.
We're a long way away from getting close enough to Jupiter that anyone will be able to see its terrifying storms with the naked eye, but it's nice to know that when we finally make it there, we'll be able to enjoy the fantastic view that's waiting.