September 5, 2016

Jupiter's South Pole

Jupiter's South Pole

This image from NASA's Juno spacecraft provides a never-before-seen perspective on Jupiter's south pole.

The JunoCam instrument acquired the view on August 27, 2016, when the spacecraft was about 58,700 miles (94,500 kilometers) above the polar region. At this point, the spacecraft was about an hour past its closest approach, and fine detail in the south polar region is clearly resolved.

Unlike the equatorial region's familiar structure of belts and zones, the poles are mottled by clockwise and counterclockwise rotating storms of various sizes, similar to giant versions of terrestrial hurricanes. The south pole has never been seen from this viewpoint, although the Cassini spacecraft was able to observe most of the polar region at highly oblique angles as it flew past Jupiter on its way to Saturn in 2000.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS
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