Jupiter’s north pole imaged by Juno on Aug. 27, 2016 ( NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)
Thanks to NASA’s Juno spacecraft we now have our best views yet of the north pole of our Solar System’s largest planet and they’re “hardly recognizable as Jupiter” according to the mission’s lead scientist!
“First glimpse of Jupiter’s north pole, and it looks like nothing we have seen or imagined before,” said SwRI’s Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission. “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms. There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to—this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter. We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.”
We are used to seeing views of Jupiter’s equatorial and mid-latitudes, which are dominated by large red, brown, and white cloud belts and associated eddies. But Jupiter’s north pole lacks those large jet stream features—and apparently does not have a polar hexagon like Saturn’s—instead being speckled by seemingly random swirling storm clouds in a blue-tinted sky.
The image above was acquired by the spacecraft’s ...