Jupiter’s chaotic storms

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Jupiter's storms, as seen by Juno after processing

Cool image time! The image on the right shows what anyone can do if they want to play with images that have been taken by the Juno spacecraft. On top is the raw Juno image of a storm on Jupiter. On the bottom is that same storm after significant processing by an ordinary citizen. A larger version can be seen here.

While the Juno science team’s policy of making all their raw images available to the public is routine for a NASA mission, they are doing something a bit different by allowing the public to play with the images and then upload them on a Juno website for everyone to see. While some of the subsequent images have been a little silly, the image on the right illustrates how this policy can help scientists (and the public) better study the atmosphere on Jupiter. The processing has brought out all the storm’s swirls and twirls, and shown clearly how chaotic the storms are in Jupiter’s high latitudes.

The scientists don’t have the resources or the time to do this kind of processing on every image, or even every piece of every image. Allowing the public to do it will increase the variety of results and make it more likely for everyone to gain some understanding of what is going on in the gas giant’s atmosphere. Or not, but then that’s okay, as a realization that we don’t understand something is the first step towards wisdom and real knowledge.



  • Ted

    Bottom picture – the enhanced one – looks like to coffee she gets from the barista at Starbucks! It does seem to point out that an atmosphere is much like a fluid – swirls and twirls. Clouds in my coffee?

    Thanks Mr. Z – you’ve been very busy over the last several days.

  • Ted wrote: “You’ve been very busy over the last several days.”

    You do not know the half of it. What you see publicly this week has really been a tiny tip of the iceberg. When the policy paper is finally out, I will then probably talk about some of the stuff that has been going on.

  • Edward

    Robert commented: “When the policy paper is finally out, I will then probably talk about some of the stuff that has been going on.

    Even though I “can’t wait” to read about it, I am willing to wait to find out about the rest of the “iceberg,” even if it takes a few days to write it up, after the policy paper is released.

    And I agree with Ted. Watching the “clouds” in my coffee is why I put in cream.

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