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Citizen scientists process image of Jupiter's largest moons

Citizen scientists process image of Jupiter's largest moons

Citizen scientists process image of Jupiter's largest moons
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By CNBCTV18.com Nov 21, 2022 3:47:18 PM IST (Published)

Using the raw JunoCam data, citizen scientist Gerald Eichstadt made the original version of this image. Another citizen scientist, Thomas Thomopoulos, further processed the image, zooming in and making colour enhancements

Two citizen scientists used raw data from the Juno Cam instrument onboard the NASA spacecraft to make an original version of the image of Jupiter's two largest moons.

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NASA's Juno spacecraft captured the image of two of Jupiter's largest moons -- Callisto and Io – during its 38th close flyby of the planet on November 19, 2021. The Juno is on an extended mission to investigate the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter, through September 2025.


When the spacecraft sped low over the gas giant in November 2021, its JunoCam instrument captured the image of hurricane-like spiral wind patterns called vortices in the planet’s north polar region and the two Jovian moons appearing below Jupiter’s curving horizon.

Using the raw JunoCam data, citizen scientist Gerald Eichstadt made the original version of this image. Another citizen scientist, Thomas Thomopoulos, further processed the image, zooming in and making colour enhancements.

NASA tweeted about the image on November 19.

"JunoMission sped low over Jupiter’s cloud tops, capturing Io and Callisto in the distance last November. Two citizen scientists made and processed this photo using raw JunoCam data,” the US space agency said.

The JunoCam's raw images are available for the public so that citizen scientists can provide unique perspectives and new insights.

When the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 14,000 kilometers above Jupiter’s cloud tops, NASA said, adding that Juno was at a latitude of about 69 degrees and was traveling at a speed of about 198,000 kilometers per hour.

Juno was the first explorer to peer below Jupiter’s dense clouds, entering the orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. The spacecraft will next make close flybys of Io in December 2023 and February 2024. These will be the first such close encounters with this intriguing moon in more than two decades.

NASA describes Io as the most volcanic body in our solar system. Its eruptions fill Jupiter’s magnetosphere and create gas and dust around the planet. In the next flybys, the Juno spacecraft will study Io’s volcanoes and geology and look for signs of a magma ocean. The spacecraft will also investigate how Io interacts with Jupiter’s giant magnetosphere.

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