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NASA’s Juno Mission Captures Scary ‘Face

On Thursday, the American space agency NASA unveiled an image of Jupiter, where the swirling clouds of the planet appear to create a distinct frowning human face. This captivating image showcases the tumultuous cloud formations and storms along Jupiter’s terminator, the boundary between the illuminated and dark sides of the planet. NASA’s Juno Mission Captures Scary ‘Face.

NASA's Juno Mission Captures Scary 'Face' On Jupiter

NASA’s Juno mission has recently shifted its attention from Jupiter to the gas giant’s moons, with its initial focus on the volcanic moon, Io. The spacecraft’s flybys have gradually drawn closer to this unique moon, providing increasingly detailed observations. The mission has successfully identified 266 active volcanoes on Io, collectively serving as compelling evidence of a vast global ocean of magma, according to recent research findings. NASA’s Juno Mission Captures Scary ‘Face.

Just in Time for Halloween, NASA’s Juno Mission Spots Eerie “Face” on Jupiter

In this particular image, Io is on the brink of entering Jupiter’s shadow. The night was characterized by high humidity, requiring the use of a hair dryer to clear condensation from the corrector on multiple occasions. Nevertheless, the observing conditions on this night were the most favorable in months. Six one-minute AVI sequences were combined using Winjupos to create this remarkable image. NASA’s Juno Mission Captures Scary ‘Face.

The image was created by citizen scientist Vladimir Tarasov, who utilized raw data from the JunoCam instrument. At the time of capturing the raw image, the Juno spacecraft was situated approximately 4,800 miles (about 7,700 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of approximately 69 degrees north.

It has 266 Active Volcanic Hotspots Linked by a Global Magma Ocean

As is often the case with Juno’s images, Jupiter’s cloud formations in this picture exhibit pareidolia, a phenomenon where observers perceive faces or patterns within seemingly random configurations. The data behind this research was collected by Juno’s Jovial Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument. Originally designed to investigate Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and its auroral regions in infrared, JIRAM has now redirected its focus to monitoring the extensive volcanic activity on Io.

While the primary spacecraft was constructed by Lockheed Martin, Juno’s instruments and components were sourced from various locations around the world. The spacecraft was shipped in separate components to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it was meticulously assembled and subsequently launched into space atop an Atlas V 551 rocket.

Jupiter and IO – Sky & Telescope

“Io is the most volcanically active celestial body within our solar system,” affirmed Scott Bolton, the Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “By continuously observing it during multiple flybys, we can track the variations in its volcanic activity, including eruption frequency, brightness, temperature, whether they occur individually or in clusters, and any changes in the shape of the lava flows,” Bolton emphasized in May 2023 when Juno approached Io to within about 35,500 kilometers (22,000 miles).

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