Thank you to NASA for launching the Juno spacecraft to go study Jupiter. And thank you to citizen scientist Kevin Gill for putting in the processing work to turn Juno's raw images into a spectacular new portrait of the wild gas giant.
Gill, who describes himself as a software engineer and data wrangler at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, combined four images snapped by Juno on May 29 into a color-enhanced picture showing Jupiter's northern hemisphere. The bright white areas toward the right of the image are high-altitude clouds.
NASA makes Juno's raw images available to the public, who are invited to enhance and process the images and share them online. Gill has applied his skills to many Jupiter shots, including this view of what looks like a South Park character hiding out in the clouds.
Jupiter's tempestuous appearance is due to its stormy atmosphere full of "cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water, floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium." This is why it resembles a swirling marble.
NASA launched Juno on its epic Jupiter voyage in 2011. It's currently scheduled to end its mission in mid-2021, which gives us a couple of more years to enjoy the planetary sightseeing.
Jaw-dropping Jupiter: NASA's Juno mission eyes the gas giant 13 Photos