3d images

Incredible 3D Images of Jupiter Spacecraft Show “Frosted Cupcake” Clouds

A spacecraft orbiting Jupiter has revealed “frosted cupcake” clouds covering the planet.

Incredible 3D renderings, derived from data captured by JunoCam, the visible light camera aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft, have enabled animations of the relative heights of the cloud tops of the largest planet in our solar system.

They reveal delicately textured swirls and peaks that the researchers say resemble the frosting on top of a cupcake.

Clouds covering Jupiter’s surface swirl in newly rendered 3D in this image generated from data captured by JunoCam on the Juno spacecraft during its 43rd close flyby of Jupiter. Citizen scientists, working with the team behind the Juno spacecraft, used JunoCam to image Jupiter like never before.
Gerald Eichstädt/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/SWNS

The results were presented by Gerald Eichstädt, citizen scientist and professional mathematician and software developer, at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC) 2022 in Granada.

Understanding the relative heights of the spiny pillars in the eddies will help scientists unravel the elements that make them up in more detail.

Onboard initially to increase public engagement around the exploration of Jupiter and its moons, a global team of citizen scientists, working in conjunction with professional astronomers and the Juno team, demonstrated that JunoCam can also provide a valuable science.

A multitude of swirling clouds in Jupiter’s northern temperate belt are captured in this image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, taken October 29, 2018 as the spacecraft conducted its 16th close flyby of Jupiter. Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.
Image enhanced by Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran CC BY-NC-SA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

“The Juno mission offers us the opportunity to observe Jupiter in a way that is essentially unreachable by Earth-based telescopic observations,” Eichstätd explained.

“We can observe the same cloud features from vastly different angles in just a few minutes. This has opened up a new opportunity to derive 3D elevation models of Jupiter’s cloud tops. come to life., showing clouds rising to different altitudes.”

Using the different ways sunlight is reflected and scattered by clouds, the team was able to determine the elevation of the observed cloud tops. Solar illumination is most intense for clouds in the upper atmosphere. Deeper in the atmosphere, more light is absorbed, especially by methane, before being reflected back to the camera by the cloud tops.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captures colorful and intricate patterns in a jet stream region of Jupiter’s northern hemisphere known as “Jet N3” during Juno’s 20th close flyby of the gas giant on May 29 2019. Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt created this enhanced color image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt

“According to theoretical models, clouds should be composed of different chemical species, ammonia, ammonium hydrosulfide and water ice from top to bottom,” Eichstädt said. “Once we have calibrated our data, through further measurements of the same cloud tops, we will test and refine the theoretical predictions and have a better 3D picture of the chemical composition.”

On August 5, 2011, NASA’s Juno spacecraft embarked on a 5-year journey to the largest planet in our solar system, the gas giant Jupiter. Its mission is to probe beneath the planet’s dense clouds and answer questions about the origin and evolution of Jupiter, our solar system, and giant planets in general across the cosmos.

Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a 5-year, 1.7 billion-mile journey, and settled into a 53-day polar orbit extending just above the cloud tops of Jupiter to the edge of the Jovian magnetosphere.

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.