The Juno spacecraft, sent to observe Jupiter and it’s moons,
Took a photograph of a strange phenomena on the surface of the gas giant in 2016, 19,900 miles from the surface. Only recently has scientist Kevin M. Gill developed the final image.
The image depicts a ghostly green glow inside a swirling mist of cloud, caused by a lightning strike. Scientists are still unclear on how lighting events happen on Jupiter in the first place, giving an extra layer of intrigue to the image.
On Earth, lighting is caused from water clouds, with most strikes near the equator. On Jupiter though, the largest planet in our solar system, lighting originates from clouds of ammonia and water and strike on the poles.
Juno’s Jupiter mission is not complete as of yet. It’s orbit around Jupiter keeps tightening, and soon it will pass by the night side of the planet which will give even more opportunities to take pictures and research. It has already performed 50 plus flybys of the planet and it’s moons like Europa and Ganymede and Io.
Mathew Johnson, project manager for the Juno mission at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said:
“As well as continuously changing our orbit to allow new perspectives of Jupiter and flying low over the night side of the planet, the spacecraft will also be threading the needle between some of Jupiter’s rings to learn more about their origin and composition.”
Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said:
“Our upcoming flybys in July and October will bring us even closer, leading up to our twin flyby encounters with Io in December of this year and February of next year, when we fly within 1,500 km of its surface. All of these flybys are providing spectacular views of the volcanic activity of this amazing moon. The data should be amazing.”