Jupiter’s South Pole

south_polar_full_diskThe Juno spacecraft took this picture which provides a never-before-seen perspective on Jupiter’s south pole. The JunoCam acquired the view on 27 August, 2016, when the spacecraft was about 95,000 km above the polar region.

Unlike Jupiter’s equatorial region’s familiar structure of belts and zones, the poles are mottled by clockwise and counterclockwise rotating storms of various sizes, similar to giant versions of terrestrial hurricanes. The south pole has never been seen from this viewpoint, although the Cassini spacecraft took a quick look at the polar region at highly oblique angles as it flew past Jupiter on its way to Saturn in 2000.

Image Credit: NASA

Jupiter and Shoemaker-Levy 9

Shoemaker-LevyHubble witnessed the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994. This is a composite photo assembled from separate images of Jupiter and the comet. The comet had broken up into at least 21 separate fragments. When fragment G struck Jupiter, the impact created a giant dark spot roughly the same diameter as the Earth and was estimated to have released an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600X the world’s nuclear arsenal).

SMOD and then some.

Image Credit: NASA