We knew we’d get some really cool pics from the Juno spacecraft’s first close pass to Jupiter, but it is one that fell outside the visible spectrum that delivered one of the most dramatic ever seen – anywhere. Juno has an instrument on board called the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper, or JIRAM, that observes the huge planet in infrared. It was this instrument that captured Jupiter’s aurora on its southern pole. This is the first time that the southern aurora has been seen.

Per the NASA press release:

“JIRAM is getting under Jupiter’s skin, giving us our first infrared close-ups of the planet,” said Alberto Adriani, JIRAM co-investigator from Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome. “These first infrared views of Jupiter’s north and south poles are revealing warm and hot spots that have never been seen before.”

Another really interesting thing is the Radio/Plasma Wave experiment (Waves) is able to pick up radio wave signals from Jupiter’s auroras. This is worth listening to:

Juno is sure to deliver some great science, but even just the audio and visual gems it’s already given us so early in its mission are nothing short of spectacular.

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Photo credit: NASA JPL

Posted by Darren Beyer

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