Jupiter Pictures Gallery

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Storms and Moons

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Storms and Moons
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this 2-millisecond exposure of Jupiter at 04:41:04 UTC on January 24, 2007. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Jupiter Pictures; Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is also the largest in our solar system. Its average distance is approximately 480 million miles, which is about five times the distance from Earth to the Sun. Unlike the terrestrial planets, Jupiter is a large ball of gas, tightly condensed. It has no surface, though it may have a core composed of comet-like rock-forming minerals, but the core makes up less than 5 percent of the planet's mass, which is approximately 318 times the mass of Earth. Gravity at the top of the clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere is about 2.5 times Earth's gravity. Enjoy these Jupiter Pictures

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this 2-millisecond exposure of Jupiter at 04:41:04 UTC on January 24, 2007.

The spacecraft was 57 million kilometers (35.3 million miles) from Jupiter, closing in on the giant planet at 41,500 miles (66,790 kilometers) per hour. At right are the moons Io (bottom) and Ganymede; Ganymede's shadow creeps toward the top of Jupiter's northern hemisphere.

Two of Jupiter's largest storms are visible; the Great Red Spot on the western (left) limb of the planet, trailing the Little Red Spot on the eastern limb, at slightly lower latitude. The Great Red Spot is a 300-year old storm more than twice the size of Earth. The Little Red Spot, which formed over the past decade from the merging of three smaller storms, is about half the size of its older and "greater" counterpart.

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On Approach: Jupiter and Io

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - On Approach: Jupiter and Io
This sequence of images was taken on Jan. 8, 2007, with the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), while the spacecraft was about 81 million kilometers (about 50 million miles) from Jupiter. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This sequence of images was taken on Jan. 8, 2007, with the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), while the spacecraft was about 81 million kilometers (about 50 million miles) from Jupiter.

Jupiter's volcanic moon Io is to the right; the planet's Great Red Spot is also visible. The image was one of 11 taken during the Jan. 8 approach sequence, which signaled the opening of the New Horizons Jupiter encounter.

Even in these early approach images, Jupiter shows different face than what previous visiting spacecraft -- such as Voyager 1, Galileo and Cassini -- have seen. Regions around the equator and in the southern tropical latitudes seem remarkably calm, even in the typically turbulent "wake" behind the Great Red Spot.

The New Horizons science team will scrutinize these major meteorological features -- including the unexpectedly calm regions -- to understand the diverse variety of dynamical processes on the solar system's largest planet. These include the newly formed Little Red Spot, the Great Red Spot and a variety of zonal features.

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Moons around Jupiter

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Moons around Jupiter
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this photo of Jupiter at 20:42:01 UTC on January 9, 2007, when the spacecraft was 80 million kilometers (49.6 million miles) from the giant planet. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this photo of Jupiter at 20:42:01 UTC on January 9, 2007, when the spacecraft was 80 million kilometers (49.6 million miles) from the giant planet.

The volcanic moon Io is to the left of the planet; the shadow of the icy moon Ganymede moves across Jupiter's northern hemisphere.

Ganymede's average orbit distance from Jupiter is about 1 million kilometers (620,000 miles); Io's is 422,000 kilometers (262,000 miles). Both Io and Ganymede are larger than Earth's moon; Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.

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Jupiter's Rings

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter's Rings
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped this photo of Jupiter's ring system on February 24, 2007, from a distance of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles). NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped this photo of Jupiter's ring system on February 24, 2007, from a distance of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles).

This processed image shows a narrow ring, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) wide, with a fainter sheet of material inside it. The faint glow extending in from the ring is likely caused by fine dust that diffuses in toward Jupiter. This is the outer tip of the "halo," a cloud of dust that extends down to Jupiter's cloud tops. The dust will glow much brighter in pictures taken after New Horizons passes to the far side of Jupiter and looks back at the rings, which will then be sunlit from behind.

Jupiter's ring system was discovered in 1979, when astronomers spied it in a single image taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Months later, Voyager 2 carried out more extensive imaging of the system. It has since been examined by NASA's Galileo and Cassini spacecraft, as well as by the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based observatories.

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter's Great Red Spot
As Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, it captured this photo of the Great Red Spot. NASA

As Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, it captured this photo of the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is an anti-cyclonic (high- pressure) storm on Jupiter that can be likened to the worst hurricanes on Earth. An ancient storm, it is so large that three Earths could fit inside it.

This photo, and others of Jupiter, allowed scientists to see different colors in clouds around the Great Red Spot which imply that the clouds swirl around the spot (going counter-clockwise) at varying altitudes. The Great Red Spot had been observed from Earth for hundreds of years, yet never before with this clarity and closeness (objects as small as six hundred kilometers can be seen).

The Voyager mission has been managed by NASA's Office of Space Science and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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Jupiter Portrait

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter Portrait
This true color mosaic of Jupiter was constructed from images taken by the narrow angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on December 29, 2000, during its closest approach to the giant planet at a distance of approximately 10,000,000 km. NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

This true color mosaic of Jupiter was constructed from images taken by the narrow angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on December 29, 2000, during its closest approach to the giant planet at a distance of approximately 10,000,000 km.

It is the most detailed global color portrait of Jupiter ever produced; the smallest visible features are approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) across. The mosaic is composed of 27 images: nine images were required to cover the entire planet in a tic-tac-toe pattern, and each of those locations was imaged in red, green, and blue to provide true color. Although Cassini's camera can see more colors than humans can, Jupiter's colors in this new view look very close to the way the human eye would see them.

Everything visible on the planet is a cloud. The parallel reddish-brown and white bands, the white ovals, and the large Great Red Spot persist over many years despite the intense turbulence visible in the atmosphere. The most energetic features are the small, bright clouds to the left of the Great Red Spot and in similar locations in the northern half of the planet. These clouds grow and disappear over a few days and generate lightning. Streaks form as clouds are sheared apart by Jupiter's intense jet streams that run parallel to the colored bands. The prominent dark band in the northern half of the planet is the location of Jupiter's fastest jet stream, with eastward winds of 480 kilometers (300 miles) per hour. Jupiter's diameter is eleven times that of Earth, so the smallest storms on this mosaic are comparable in size to the largest hurricanes on Earth.

Unlike Earth, where only water condenses to form clouds, Jupiter's clouds are made of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and water. The updrafts and downdrafts bring different mixtures of these substances up from below, leading to clouds at different heights. The brown and orange colors may be due to trace chemicals dredged up from deeper levels of the atmosphere, or they may be byproducts of chemical reactions driven by ultraviolet light from the Sun. Bluish areas, such as the small features just north and south of the equator, are areas of reduced cloud cover, where one can see deeper.

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Jupiter Great Red Spot

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter Great Red Spot
This dramatic view of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and its surroundings was obtained by Voyager 1 on Feb. 25, 1979, when the spacecraft was 5.7 million miles (9.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter. NASA

This dramatic view of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and its surroundings was obtained by Voyager 1 on Feb. 25, 1979, when the spacecraft was 5.7 million miles (9.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter.

Cloud details as small as 100 miles (160 kilometers) across can be seen here.

The colorful, wavy cloud pattern to the left of the Red Spot is a region of extraordinarily complex end variable wave motion. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Voyager mission for NASA's Office of Space Science.

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Jupiter Aurora

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter Aurora
In this Hubble telescope picture, a curtain of glowing gas is wrapped around Jupiter's north pole like a lasso. John Clarke (University of Michigan) and NASA

In this Hubble telescope picture, a curtain of glowing gas is wrapped around Jupiter's north pole like a lasso.

This curtain of light, called an aurora, is produced when high-energy electrons race along the planet's magnetic field and into the upper atmosphere where they excite atmospheric gases, causing them to glow.

The aurora resembles the same phenomenon that crowns Earth's polar regions. But this Hubble image, taken in ultraviolet light, also shows the glowing "footprints" of three of Jupiter's largest moons: Io, Ganymede, and Europa. Spanning next two months in 2004, Jupiter's aurora will be scrutinized by two observatories: the Hubble telescope and the Cassini spacecraft, which will fly by the planet on its voyage to Saturn.

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Jupiter Ahoy!

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Jupiter Ahoy!
The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this photo of Jupiter on Sept. 4, 2006, from a distance of 291 million kilometers (nearly 181 million miles) away. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on NASA's New Horizons spacecraft took this photo of Jupiter on Sept. 4, 2006, from a distance of 291 million kilometers (nearly 181 million miles) away.

Visible in the image are belts, zones and large storms in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as the Jovian moons Europa (at left) and Io and the shadows they cast on Jupiter.

LORRI snapped this image during a test sequence to help prepare for the Jupiter encounter observations. It was taken close to solar opposition, meaning that the Sun was almost directly behind the camera when it spied Jupiter. This makes Jupiter appear about 40 times brighter than Pluto will be for LORRI's primary observations when New Horizons encounters the Pluto system in 2015.

To avoid saturation, the camera's exposure time was kept to 6 milliseconds. This image was, in part, a test to see how well LORRI would operate with such a short exposure time.

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Io and Ganymede

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Io and Ganymede
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this 4-millisecond exposure of Jupiter and two of its moons at 01:41:04 UTC on January 17, 2007. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this 4-millisecond exposure of Jupiter and two of its moons at 01:41:04 UTC on January 17, 2007.

The spacecraft was 68.5 million kilometers (42.5 million miles) from Jupiter, closing in on the giant planet at 41,500 miles (66,790 kilometers) per hour. The volcanic moon Io is the closest planet to the right of Jupiter; the icy moon Ganymede is to Io's right. The shadows of each satellite are visible atop Jupiter's clouds; Ganymede's shadow is draped over Jupiter's northwestern limb.

Ganymede's average orbit distance from Jupiter is about 1.07 million kilometers (620,000 miles); Io's is 422,000 kilometers (262,000 miles). Both Io and Ganymede are larger than Earth's moon; Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.

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Ganymede's Shadow

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Ganymede's Shadow
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this photo of Jupiter at 20:42:01 UTC on January 9, 2007, when the spacecraft was 80 million kilometers (49.6 million miles) from the giant planet. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) took this photo of Jupiter at 20:42:01 UTC on January 9, 2007, when the spacecraft was 80 million kilometers (49.6 million miles) from the giant planet.

The volcanic moon Io is to the left of the planet; the shadow of the icy moon Ganymede moves across Jupiter's northern hemisphere.

Ganymede's average orbit distance from Jupiter is about 1 million kilometers (620,000 miles); Io's is 422,000 kilometers (262,000 miles). Both Io and Ganymede are larger than Earth's moon; Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury.

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Full Jupiter Mosaic

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Full Jupiter Mosaic
This image of Jupiter is produced from a 2x2 mosaic of photos taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), and assembled by the LORRI team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

This image of Jupiter is produced from a 2x2 mosaic of photos taken by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), and assembled by the LORRI team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

The telescopic camera snapped the images during a 3-minute, 35-second span on February 10, when the spacecraft was 29 million kilometers (18 million miles) from Jupiter. At this distance, Jupiter's diameter was 1,015 LORRI pixels -- nearly filling the imager's entire (1,024-by-1,024 pixel) field of view. Features as small as 290 kilometers (180 miles) are visible.

Both the Great Red Spot and Little Red Spot are visible in the image, on the left and lower right, respectively. The apparent "storm" on the planet's right limb is a section of the south tropical zone that has been detached from the region to its west (or left) by a "disturbance" that scientists and amateur astronomers are watching closely.

At the time LORRI took these images, New Horizons was 820 million kilometers (510 million miles) from home -- nearly 5½ times the distance between the Sun and Earth. This is the last full-disk image of Jupiter LORRI will produce, since Jupiter is appearing larger as New Horizons draws closer, and the imager will start to focus on specific areas of the planet for higher-resolution studies.

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Comet Fragment Slams into Jupiter

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Comet Fragment Slams into Jupiter
In July 1994, 21 chunks of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which had broken apart a year earlier, slammed into Jupiter. The Hubble telescope recorded this spectacular event. R. Evans, J. Trauger, H. Hammel and the HST Comet Science Team and NASA

In July 1994, 21 chunks of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which had broken apart a year earlier, slammed into Jupiter. The Hubble telescope recorded this spectacular event.

These images, beginning at lower right, chronicle the results of one such collision. Hubble began snapping pictures of the impact area just five minutes after the collision. Nothing can be seen. Less than two hours later, a plume of dark debris is visible [bull's-eye pattern, image second from bottom]. Two impact sites are visible in the next picture, taken a few days later. The final snapshot shows three impact sites, the newest near the bull's-eye-shaped region.

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Chandra Examines Jupiter During New Horizons Approach

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Chandra Examines Jupiter During New Horizons Approach
On February 28, 2007, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter on its ultimate journey to Pluto. This flyby gave scientists a unique opportunity to study Jupiter using the package of instruments available on New Horizons. NASA/CXC/SwRI/R.Gladstone et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage (AURA/STScI)

On February 28, 2007, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Jupiter on its ultimate journey to Pluto. This flyby gave scientists a unique opportunity to study Jupiter using the package of instruments available on New Horizons, while coordinating observations from both space- and ground-based telescopes including NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

In preparation for New Horizon's approach of Jupiter, Chandra took 5-hour exposures of Jupiter on February 8, 10, and 24th. In this new composite image, data from those separate Chandra's observations were combined, and then superimposed on the latest image of Jupiter from the Hubble Space Telescope.

The purpose of the Chandra observations is to study the powerful X-ray auroras observed near the poles of Jupiter. These are thought to be caused by the interaction of sulfur and oxygen ions in the outer regions of the Jovian magnetic field with particles flowing away from the Sun in the so-called solar wind. Scientists would like to better understand the details of this process, which produces auroras up to a thousand times more powerful than similar auroras seen on Earth.

Following closest approach on the 28th, Chandra will continue to observe Jupiter over the next few weeks. New Horizons will take an unusual trajectory past Jupiter that takes it directly down the so-called magnetic tail of the planet, a region where no spacecraft has gone before. The sulfur and oxygen particles that dominate Jupiter's magnetosphere and originate in Io's volcanoes are eventually lost down this magnetic tail. One goal of the Chandra observations is to see if any of the X-ray auroral emissions are related to this process.

By combining Chandra observations with the New Horizons data, plus ultraviolet information from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and FUSE satellite, and optical data from ground-based telescopes, astronomers hope to get a more complete picture of Jupiter's complicated system of particles and magnetic fields and energetic particles. In the weeks and months to come, astronomers will undertake detailed analysis of this bounty of data.

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Cassini's Best Maps of Jupiter

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Cassini's Best Maps of Jupiter
These color maps of Jupiter were constructed from images taken by the narrow-angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11 and 12, 2000, as the spacecraft neared Jupiter during its flyby of the giant planet. NASA/JPL

These color maps of Jupiter were constructed from images taken by the narrow-angle camera onboard NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 11 and 12, 2000, as the spacecraft neared Jupiter during its flyby of the giant planet.

Cassini was on its way to Saturn. They are the most detailed global color maps of Jupiter ever produced; the smallest visible features are about 120 kilometers (75 miles) across.

The maps are composed of 36 images: a pair of images covering Jupiter's northern and southern hemispheres was acquired in two colors every hour for nine hours as Jupiter rotated beneath the spacecraft. Although the raw images are in just two colors, 750 nanometers (near-infrared) and 451 nanometers (blue), the map's colors are close to those the human eye would see when gazing at Jupiter.

The maps show a variety of colorful cloud features, including parallel reddish-brown and white bands, the Great Red Spot, multi-lobed chaotic regions, white ovals and many small vortices. Many clouds appear in streaks and waves due to continual stretching and folding by Jupiter's winds and turbulence. The bluish-gray features along the north edge of the central bright band are equatorial "hot spots," meteorological systems such as the one entered by NASA's Galileo probe. Small bright spots within the orange band north of the equator are lightning-bearing thunderstorms. The polar regions shown here are less clearly visible because Cassini viewed them at an angle and through thicker atmospheric haze.

The round maps are polar stereographic projections that show the north or south pole in the center of the map and the equator at the edge.

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Capturing Callisto

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Capturing Callisto
The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) captured these two images of Jupiter's outermost large moon, Callisto, as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter in late February. New Horizons' closest approach distance to Jupiter was 2,300,000 km. NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) captured these two images of Jupiter's outermost large moon, Callisto, as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter in late February. New Horizons' closest approach distance to Jupiter was 2,300,000 km not far outside Callisto's orbit, which has a radius of 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles). However, Callisto happened to be on the opposite side of Jupiter during the spacecraft's pass through the Jupiter system, so these images, taken from 4.7 million kilometers (3.0 million miles) and 4.2 million kilometers (2.6 million miles) away, are the closest of Callisto that New Horizons obtained.

Callisto's ancient, crater-scarred surface makes it very different from its three more active sibling satellites, Io, Europa and Ganymede. Callisto, 4,800 kilometers (3000 miles) in diameter, displays no large-scale geological features other than impact craters, and every bright spot in these images is a crater. The largest impact feature on Callisto, the huge basin Valhalla, is visible as a bright patch at the 10 o'clock position. The craters are bright because they have excavated material relatively rich in water ice from beneath the dark, dusty material that coats most of the surface.

The two images show essentially the same side of Callisto - the side that faces Jupiter - under different illumination conditions. The images accompanied scans of Callisto's infrared spectrum with New Horizons' Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). The New Horizons science team designed these scans to study how the infrared spectrum of Callisto's water ice changes as lighting and viewing conditions change, and as the ice cools through Callisto's late afternoon. The infrared spectrum of water ice depends slightly on its temperature, and a goal of New Horizons when it reaches the Pluto system (in 2015) is to use the water ice features in the spectrum of Pluto's moon Charon, and perhaps on Pluto itself, to measure surface temperature. Callisto provided an ideal opportunity to test this technique on a much better-known body.

The left image, taken at 05:03 Universal Time on February 27, 2007, is centered at 5 degrees south, 5 degrees west, and has a solar phase angle of 46 degrees. The right image was taken at 03:25 Universal Time on February 28, 2007. It is centered at 4 degrees south, 356 degrees west, and has a solar phase angle of 76 degrees.

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Ancient Storm

Jupiter Pictures Gallery - Ancient Storm
When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter's atmosphere, more than 300 years later. Amy Simon (Cornell), Reta Beebe (NMSU), Heidi Hammel (MIT), Hubble Heritage Team

When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter's atmosphere, more than 300 years later.

It is now known that it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. Unlike a low-pressure hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, however, the Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction in the southern hemisphere, showing that it is a high-pressure system. Winds inside this Jovian storm reach speeds of about 270 mph.

The Red Spot is the largest known storm in the Solar System. With a diameter of 15,400 miles, it is almost twice the size of the entire Earth and one-sixth the diameter of Jupiter itself.

The long lifetime of the Red Spot may be due to the fact that Jupiter is mainly a gaseous planet. It possibly has liquid layers, but lacks a solid surface, which would dissipate the storm's energy, much as happens when a hurricane makes landfall on the Earth.

However, the Red Spot does change its shape, size, and color. Such changes are demonstrated in high-resolution Wide Field and Planetary Cameras 1 & 2 images of Jupiter obtained by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and presented here by the Hubble Heritage Project team.

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Greene, Nick. "Jupiter Pictures Gallery." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/jupiter-pictures-gallery-4122941. Greene, Nick. (2017, March 2). Jupiter Pictures Gallery. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/jupiter-pictures-gallery-4122941 Greene, Nick. "Jupiter Pictures Gallery." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/jupiter-pictures-gallery-4122941 (accessed November 17, 2017).