NASA’s Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011 and since its arrival at Jupiter it has taken some spectacular photos. One photo in particular that’s been recently shared shows red cyclones circling the Gas Giant’s North Pole area and it looks just like a pepperoni pizza.
What’s even more interesting is that when the infrared photos of the “lava-like” storms are observed under visible light, the clouds have more of a bluish glow. Scott Bolton, who is the principal investigator for the Juno spacecraft, went into further details in a statement, “It’s bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms,” adding, “There is no sign of the latitudinal bands or zone and belts that we are used to -- this image is hardly recognizable as Jupiter.” “We’re seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features.”
When NASA released the photo to their Instagram account, they received a lot of comments, such as “Forbidden pizza” and “Pizza Planet”. Several people commented with nothing more than a pizza emoji while another user suggested that the photo looked like a burnt pie. The photograph that has many people calling the planet a “pepperoni pizza” can be seen on NASA’s Instagram page as well as on their official website.
The Juno spacecraft has done a phenomenal job studying Jupiter but NASA is hoping to get even more detailed analysis of the Gas Giant when the James Webb Space Telescope is launched next year. According to NASA’s website, the telescope will be the “largest, most powerful and complex space telescope ever built and launched into space. It will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe”. One of its projects will be to study Jupiter in much greater detail, such as measuring the wind speed, particles in the clouds, temperatures, the gas composition, and much more.
Imke de Pater from the University of California, Berkeley and Thierry Fouchet of the Observatory de Paris stated, “It will be a really challenging experiment,” adding, “Jupiter is so bright, and Webb's instruments are so sensitive, that observing both the bright planet and its fainter rings and moons will be an excellent test of how to get the most out of Webb's innovative technology.”
I know that I’m personally excited to find out what kind of new information the telescope will provide regarding Jupiter.