Washington, July 2: NASA's Earth-bound Gemini North telescope has beamed back a stunning image of Jupiter showing haze particles over a range of altitudes, as seen in reflected sunlight.
As the Juno spacecraft orbits Jupiter, the Gemini telescope is providing high-resolution images to help guide its exploration of the giant planet.
Astronomers at the telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii are revealing "a treasure-trove of fascinating events in Jupiter's atmosphere," said Glenn Orton, principal investigator for the Gemini adaptive optics investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US.
In addition to images using adaptive optics, Michael Wong from University of California, Berkeley in the US is using a longer-wavelength filter on the telescope to look at cloud opacity on the planet.
"These observations trace vertical flows that cannot be measured any other way, illuminating the weather, climate and general circulation in Jupiter's atmosphere," Wong said.
"Events like this show that there's still much to learn about Jupiter's atmosphere," Orton said.
"The combination of Earth-based and spacecraft observations is a powerful one-two punch in exploring Jupiter," he said.