Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2017 December 14

Jupiter Diving
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstadt, Justin Cowart

Explanation: Take this simulated plunge and dive into the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, the Solar System's ruling gas giant. The awesome animation is based on image data from JunoCam, and the microwave radiometer on board the Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft. Your view will start about 3,000 kilometers above the southern Jovian cloud tops, but you can track your progress on the display at the left. As altitude decreases, temperature increases while you dive deeper at the location of Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot. In fact, Juno data indicates the Great Red Spot, the Solar System's largest storm system, penetrates some 300 kilometers into the giant planet's atmosphere. For comparison, the deepest point for planet Earth's oceans is just under 11 kilometers down. Don't panic though, you'll fly back out again.

Submitted to APOD: Best images (so far) of the Geminid Meteor Shower 2017.
Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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