On October 29, the Juno probe, which has been circling Jupiter since 2016, flew over the north-eastern range of the planet and surprised with the most mesmerizing image of the cloud giant gas. The image, made 4,400 miles above the planet and enriched by scientists and civic artists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, includes a white pop-up cloud and a counter-cyclone storm that appears as a white oval.
The turbulent picture is not the only stunner from a series of raw image data from the sixteenth Juno pass of the planet recently published by NASA. At the end of last week, Brian Swift, associate of Image and Graphics Processing, published other shots, including one that shows a cloud that looks suspiciously like a dolphin diving in the clouds.
So, if you stepped aboard the spacecraft and looked out the window at Jupiter, would you see the beautiful cloudy dolphins, bright white ovals and similar to Van Gogh's turmoil that NASA has published over the past few years? Not completely. Raw data from JunoCam Juno probes are corrected for distortion, brightness and color before publishing. This process was performed internally by NASA, which issued images from the mission a few months after receiving the data.
But in the case of the Juno mission NASA publishes raw data directly on the Internet, where the community of amateur image processors can manipulate them and post their work on the mission's website within a few days or even hours of receiving it, like Marina Koren on Atlantic reports. While some of the processors take a huge artistic license with image data, others are more subtle and use color to enhance and accentuate features on the planet, such as wind currents or storms.
The processors do not try to attract the audience; the community asks everyone to be convinced in advance about how they manipulated pictures. And the rate is low, Koren reports that the mission of the JunoCam instrument – in contrast to other devices on the probe – is simply to take nice pictures, although scientists can use them for some research projects. Researchers do not really care about images because they reinforce our understanding of the planet.
"We do not turn the nose in artificial color," says Koren, planetary scientist Candy Hansen, who leads the JunoCam team. "We love the artificial color."
Real colored images are much more silenced and pastel, and cloud functions are not so sharply outlined. However, the largest planet in the Solar System still has serene beauty, concealing the chaotic winds and thunderstorms that lie below.
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