Skip to main content

See Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa in this stunning Juno image

NASA has released a stunning image of the planet Jupiter, captured by its Juno mission. This particular image was created by a member of the public, Andrea Luck, who used the publicly available raw data from the JunoCam instrument to process the image.

NASA’s Juno mission captured this view of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere during the spacecraft’s 39th close flyby of the planet on Jan. 12, 2022.
NASA’s Juno mission captured this view of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere during the spacecraft’s 39th close flyby of the planet on Jan. 12, 2022. Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Image processing by AndreaLuck

This magnificent image shows Jupiter in all its glory. It was taken on January 12, 2022, during the spacecraft’s 39th flyby of the planet. Juno was launched in 2011 and has been in orbit around Jupiter since 2016, and in that time it has been studying the planet’s composition and gravitational and magnetic fields.

Looking closely at this image reveals two special guests: Two of Jupiter’s moons, Io and Europa. They are two of the best-known of Jupiter’s moons, which total at least 80, as they are among the largest (along with Ganymede and Callisto).

Zoomed in image showing Jupiter's moon Io (on the left) and Europa (on the right).
Zoomed in image showing Jupiter’s moon Io (on the left) and Europa (on the right). Image data: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Image processing by AndreaLuck

“At the time this image was taken, the Juno spacecraft was about 38,000 miles (61,000 kilometers) from Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 52 degrees south,” NASA writes. The image is also notable for how it was processed, NASA says: “Citizen scientist Andrea Luck created the image using raw data from the JunoCam instrument.”

We’ve previously interviewed an engineer who processes many of the Juno images, Kevin Gill, who told us about how he overlays the filtered images captured by the JunoCam camera in red, green, and blue to create a true-color image. Sometimes he uses specialty software for tricky tasks like processing images from other missions. But for processing images from Juno, he uses commercially available software like Adobe Photoshop, and he also makes his processing pipeline publicly available through Github.

That means that anyone can try their hand at processing Juno data. If you’re interested in trying this out yourself, you can find the raw data and images at the Juno mission website. Or if you’d like to help out with other citizen science projects for NASA, you can head to the NASA citizen science projects site or the citizen science opportunities page.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
See the sparkling Terzan 12 globular cluster in new Hubble image
This colorful image of the globular star cluster Terzan 12 is a spectacular example of how dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects.

A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a stunning field of thousands of stars, part of a globular star cluster called Terzan 12. These groups of stars are bound together by gravity, in a packed configuration that is roughly spherical. This particular cluster is located within the Milky Way, in the constellation of Sagittarius, and is around 15,000 light-years away from us here on Earth.

This colorful image of the globular star cluster Terzan 12 is a spectacular example of how dust in space affects starlight coming from background objects. NASA, ESA, ESA/Hubble, Roger Cohen (RU)

Read more
Indian spacecraft snaps images of the moon’s surface ahead of landing attempt
Chandrayaan-3 Mission: View from the Lander Imager (LI) Camera-1 on August 17, 2023 just after the separation of the Lander Module from the Propulsion Module.

An Indian spacecraft that is approaching the moon's south pole recently snapped images of the lunar surface. The images, shared by Indian space agency ISRO, show the view on approach from the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft shortly after it entered orbit around the moon.

The mission, launched last month, aims to set down an uncrewed lander near the lunar south pole -- a never-before-landed-on region but one which a growing number of space agencies including NASA have plans to explore more in the coming years. The Indian mission has also grabbed public attention as it is seen as being in a head-to-head race with a Russian moon mission, Luna-25, which launched earlier this month.

Read more
See how James Webb instruments work together to create stunning views of space
The irregular galaxy NGC 6822.

A series of new images from the James Webb Space Telescope shows the dusty, irregular galaxy NGC 6822 -- and the different views captured by various Webb instruments.

Located relatively close by at 1.5 million light-years from Earth, this galaxy is notable for its low metallicity. Confusingly, when astronomers say metallicity they do not mean the amount of metals present in a galaxy, but rather the amount of all heavy elements -- i.e., everything which isn't hydrogen or helium. This factor is important because the very earliest galaxies in the universe were made up almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, meaning they had low metallicity, and the heavier elements were created over time in the heart of stars and were then distributed through the universe when some of those stars went supernova.

Read more