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Juno spacecraft photographs Jupiter and two of its moons in a single stunning image

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured a stunning view of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere during the spacecraft’s 39th fly-by of the planet on January 12, 2022. The image is beautiful at first glance, but when you look closer, you can see two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa.

When the image was captured, the Juno spacecraft was about 61,000 kilometers (38,000 miles) from Jupiter’s cloud tops when it captured the photo below. The spacecraft’s latitude was about 52 degrees south. The raw image was processed by citizens scientist Andrea Luck. If you’d like to see the raw images from JunoCam, click here.

Jupiter with Io (left) and Europa (right) visible. Click to enlarge the image. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing by AndreaLuck © CC BY

Per NASA, ‘Io is the solar system’s most volcanic body, while Europa’s icy surface hides a global ocean of liquid water beneath.’ Juno will perform more detailed observations of Europa using several scientific instruments this September, when the Juno spacecraft will perform its closest fly-by of the moon in decades. Juno will also make close approaches to Io in late 2023 and early 2024.

A closer look at Io (left) and Europa (right). Click to enlarge. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing by AndreaLuck © CC BY

JunoCam, also known as JCM, is a visible-light camera/telescope onboard the Juno spacecraft. The camera is run by JunoCam Digital Electronics Assembly (JDEA) and both the camera itself and JDEA were built by Marlin Space Science Systems. The camera has a field of view of 58 degrees and has four filters; three operate within the visible light spectrum. The camera uses the Kodak KAI-2020 image sensor and its color images are less than 2MP. During close fly-bys, the camera cam achieve 15km/pixel resolution from 4,300km.

If you’d like to learn more about the Juno mission, visit NASA’s Juno mission website. To view raw images from JunoCam, click here. If you want to see more stunning processed photos of Jupiter, check out this image from last year. Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since July 5, 2016 and there are plenty of more amazing images to come.


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