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Juno mission reveals surprises at Jupiter

Juno view of Jupiter south pole
This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles. The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles in diameter. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Betsy Asher Hall / Gervasio Robles)

NASA’s Juno orbiter has been sending back stunning pictures of Jupiter for months, but now the mission’s scientists are sharing their first peer-reviewed findings about the planet’s previously unseen polar storms and powerful magnetic field.

“The results from Juno’s initial close passes of Jupiter are understanding of this gas giant,” the Juno science team, led by principal investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute, reports in the journal Science.

Bolton and his colleagues laid out those results today in a set of papers published by Science and Geophysical Research Letters, and in a NASA teleconference.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, 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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