On September 7, 2023, NASA’s Juno mission conducted its 54th close flyby of Jupiter, capturing a fascinating view of an area in Jupiter’s far northern regions known as Jet N7. This image provides a look at the tumultuous clouds and storms near Jupiter’s terminator, which is the boundary separating the illuminated day side from the dark night side of the planet. The angle of sunlight in this image is relatively low, which accentuates the intricate topography of features in this region. Scientists study these features to gain a better understanding of the complex processes taking place in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Interestingly, this image, like many from the Juno mission, has a tendency to evoke pareidolia – the phenomenon where observers perceive familiar shapes or patterns in random or abstract images.
The image itself was created by citizen scientist Vladimir Tarasov, who used raw data from Juno’s JunoCam instrument. At the time the raw image was captured, the Juno spacecraft was approximately 4,800 miles (around 7,700 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, positioned at a latitude of about 69 degrees north. This flyby has provided a unique and close-up glimpse of Jupiter’s northern atmospheric dynamics, aiding scientists in their ongoing research about this giant planet.