NASA's intrepid Juno spacecraft has been probing and documenting the Jovian system since it first arrived back in July of 2016, after a five-year journey from Earth. While we've all seen many of the remarkable photos its instruments and cameras have recorded as it circles the planet, it's still far removed from the sheer immensity witnessed firsthand by the probe.
To offer up a front row seat aboard Juno, a new five-minute flyby video, comprised of 41 separate images recorded by the craft, delivers a small glimpse of what we'd observe if we were a stowaway passenger as it passed over the gas giant at a range of approximately 2,100 miles above the cloudtops.
Buckle up and enjoy the trip, accompanied by ambient tunes by Vangelis!
Nearing the spacecraft's closest proximity to Jupiter, the monster world's intense gravitational tug actually gave Juno a boost and sped up the spacecraft up to a blistering 130,000 mph relative to the planet, according to a NASA statement.
Citizen scientist Kevin Gill stitched the stirring video together using data from Juno's JunoCam, whose technology digitally projects images onto a sphere with a virtual "camera," thus presenting these jaw-dropping vistas of Jupiter. The photos were snapped as Juno made its 27th close-in planetary flyby, obtained between 5:47 a.m. and 7:25 a.m. on June 2.
Juno's mission began in 2011 with directives to delve into the origins and development of the massive planet. It was all due to end with an ignoble plunge into Jupiter's dense atmosphere in 2018 until a NASA reprieve was given that keeps the hardworking probe in full operation through 2021.
Juno has far exceeded its official duties by gathering a wealth of valuable data on Jupiter, with intimate images of its Great Red Spot, churning atmospheric storms, and strange swirling cloud formations available to educate and amaze.