This stunning new image of Jupiter in infrared is part of a data set combining measurements from ground- and space-based observatories. The glowing Jovian orb seen here is a composite of some of the sharpest images captured by the Gemini North Telescope’s Near-Infrared Imager from its perch on Mauna Kea. The brightest areas correspond to warmer temperatures over thinner, hazier clouds, whereas the dark areas mark towering, thick clouds.
The ground-based images — and observations from Hubble — were timed to coincide with passes from the Juno spacecraft. This combination of infrared, visible light, and radio wave observations gives scientists an unprecedented look at Jovian atmospheric processes. It revealed, for example, that lightning measured by Juno deep inside Jupiter’s atmosphere corresponded to convective storm cores visible to the other imagers. The combination of observations allowed the researchers to reconstruct the structure of these Jovian storms in a way that no single instrument could reveal. No doubt planetary scientists will learn lots more about Jovian convection from the data set. (Image credit: Jupiter – International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley)/Gizmodo, illustration – NASA, ESA, M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley), and A. James and M.W. Carruthers (STScI); research credit: M. Wong et al.; via Gizmodo)