Juno’s Jupiter snapshots show lots of spots

A photo of Jupiter’s south polar region, captured by the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno orbiter on Feb. 2, reveals an arc of white oval storms. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Roman Tkachenko © CC BY)

A photo of Jupiter’s south polar region, captured by the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno orbiter on Feb. 2, reveals white oval storms. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Roman Tkachenko © CC BY)

We all know Jupiter has a Great Red Spot, but the latest pictures from NASA’s Juno orbiter turn the spotlight on some nifty little white spots near the giant planet’s south pole.

The white oval storms may look like mere pockmarks on JunoCam’s profile, but they’re actually giant cyclones that are roughly as wide as the planet Mercury (3,000 miles or so).

“Jovian Antarctica” was one of the targets for Juno’s fourth close flyby of Jupiter on Feb. 2. The half-shadowed view of Jupiter’s disk was taken when the solar-powered probe was about 47,600 miles above the cloud tops.

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About Alan Boyle

Award-winning science writer, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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