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Juno looks down at Jupiter

Jupiter as seen by Juno on May 12, 2024
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, rotated, reduced, and annotated to post here, was taken on May 12, 2024 by the camera on the Jupiter orbiter Juno during its most recent close-fly of the gas giant, its sixty-first since it arrived in 2016. The picture was snapped when Juno was about 34,674 miles away from Jupiter as it flew over the northern hemisphere.

Citizen scientist Thomas Thomopoulos then took that raw image and enhanced and enlarged it to bring out the storm details. You can see the distinct bands that cut across Jupiter’s equatorial and mid-latitudes. The reddish band is where the Great Red Spot is located, though that spot is not seen in this picture.

As we move north those bands slowly transition into the chaotic storms of the polar regions, which also circle the pole but do not form bands.

For scale I have added a circle that approximates the Earth’s size in comparison to Jupiter. You will notice that some of those polar storms are as big if not bigger than the Earth itself. To think we presently have any real understanding of the processes that create Jupiter’s climate and weather systems is to be arrogant beyond belief.

Fortunately, the scientists who study Jupiter are not that arrogant, though they often can’t admit it and are forced to sound otherwise when ignorant journalists and NASA managers demand more answers from them then are possible. The scientists understand that what makes pictures like this intriguing is not what it tells us but the amount of ignorance it reveals. To get funding for future research however sometimes requires they sound more knowledgeable than they are.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Call Me Ishmael

    You know, I wish you wouldn’t use the term “citizen scientist”. It furthers the impression that the only “real” scientists are the ones who get paid by the government. Really, these guys are “scientists”. Period.

  • Thomas Wilson

    Absolutely stunning. The universe is an endless array of marvels.

  • Call Me Ishmael: I tend to agree with you, but I have yet to find a way to distinguish between those who are paid professional scientists and those who do it voluntarily. “Amateur scientists” would be accurate, but it would also unfortunately imply a bad connotation.

  • Call Me Ishmael

    Independent scientist?

  • Call Me Ismael: Not bad, but “independent” still implies things that might not be so. Maybe I should use “unaffliated scientist.”

  • Ray Van Dune

    “Citizen Scientist” always sounded like quite a noble designation to me… if I deserved it I’d accept it gladly!

  • Ray Van Dune

    Ps. Better than “tyro” which is more apropos in my case.

  • DJ

    I always liked “citizen scientist”. It clearly points out to me a volunteering unaffiliated space advocate. I would like to know if there are analyses of the colors. I am not sure what might be false color, but I would be interested if there is any connection to chemical make-up.

  • James Street

    I like “citizen scientist” too. It’s like “citizen journalist”.

    2 minute General Flynn citizen journalist video:

  • Max

    Titles like Dr. and scientist are so over rated to the point of been being meaningless. (political scientist, Christian scientist, social scientist, etc.…)
    Citizen scientist works but I like a more meaningful title like “independent analyst”. His visual reconstruction skills are top notch.

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