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NASA Reveals Mystery Behind Giant Black Spot Found on Jupiter

The pictures were captured by Juno on September 12, while participating in its 22nd perijove, or close encounter, with Jupiter.

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Updated:September 24, 2019, 8:48 AM IST
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NASA Reveals Mystery Behind Giant Black Spot Found on Jupiter
NASA's Juno spacecraft captures Jupiter's southern hemisphere, as the spacecraft performed its 13th close flyby of Jupiter. (Image: Reuters)

A few days ago, the JunoCam onboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft got success in capturing some of the stunning images of Jupiter. In the series of pictures captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, a massive black spot was seen atop the gas giant’s churning clouds.

While this might have looked scary initially, scientists now have a reasonable explanation to describe the black spot. Apparently, it’s a shadow cast by Jupiter’s extremely volcanic moon, Io.

This shadow was more of an annular eclipse because Io’s shadow is not even close to covering Jupiter’s entire surface. However, the image is quite big, given the fact that Io is only slightly larger than Earth’s Moon.

The pictures were captured by Juno on September 12, while participating in its 22nd perijove, or close encounter, with Jupiter. The NASA spacecraft, which arrived at the Jovian system in July 2017, is in a highly elliptical polar orbit that brings it close to the gas giant’s cloud tops and then out again into deeper space.

This image was processed by Kevin Gill, a NASA software engineer who has also produced other stunning images of Jupiter.

As explained, Juno was around 8,000 kilometers from the surface of the planet when it captured these images. In other news, Juno is currently scheduled to perform around a dozen more perijoves before the mission ends in July 2021.

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