Solar System Chatter

Jupiter’s Hexagon

Now that NASA’s Juno spacecraft is settled in at Jupiter, it recently sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north and south poles. Scientists are still analyzing all the data that Juno sent back during its first instrument-on orbital flyby on August 28, including the first infrared images that will probe down into atmosphere. Principal investigator Scott Bolton said of these first images that the poles are bluer and more stormy than the rest of the planet. Most surprisingly, instead of the bands that stretch across the body of the planet, the atmosphere in the north pole is forming a hexagon shape. Juno will execute 35 more flybys before it ends its mission by plunging into the surface in early 2018.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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Juno, Jupiter