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NASA’s Juno Mission Captures Image of Jupiter’s ‘Pearl’; See Here

First Posted: Dec 15, 2016 03:28 AM EST

NASA's Juno spacecraft has reportedly taken an image that captures the seventh of Jupiter's eight features that form a "string of pearls." The phenomenon is basically enormous counterclockwise rotating storms that seem like white ovals in the southern hemisphere of the largest known planet of the solar system.

According to NASA, the JunoCam imager on board the Juno spacecraft took the photo on Dec. 11, 2016, when the Juno spacecraft was performing its third close flyby of the giant gas planet. The spacecraft was located at a distance of 15,300 miles from Jupiter when the photo was taken. Incidentally, the white ovals have differed in number from six to nine since 1986, and at present, eight white ovals can be seen.

The JunoCam on board the solar-powered Juno spacecraft was specifically included for public engagement, though, of course, the images that it takes are also more than beneficial for the science team managing the mission. The visible-light camera was made to take remarkable photos of Jupiter's cloud tops and poles. The camera also serves as the eye of Juno that provides a wide view that helps in adding context for the other instruments on the spacecraft. The camera, however, is not considered among the crucial science instruments on the spacecraft as per NASA.

The Juno mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in California's Pasadena area. The Juno spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Aug. 5, 2011 as part of NASA's New Frontiers program. The spacecraft entered Jupiter's polar orbit on July 5, 2016, where it has begun a 20-month scientific observation of the giant planet. Juno will be deliberately deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere after completing its mission.

The Juno mission's investigative study will include measuring Jupiter's polar magnetosphere, magnetic field and composition. In addition, the probe will also search for clues regarding the formation of Jupiter, its deep winds and the amount of water vapor existing in its deep atmosphere, apart from checking if it has a rocky core.

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