Jupiter storms star in NASA ‘marble’ planet portrait

Jupiter stands out in this marble-like portrait.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

We have a new entry in the competition for Most Beautiful Photo of a Planet Pretending to be a Marble. The classic Blue Marble view of Earth from 1972 still stands strong, but dark-horse Jupiter is contending with a fresh NASA image.

NASA delivered the view this week with the simple title “Jupiter Marble.” The color-enhanced view melds three images taken in February by the Juno spacecraft, which has been investigating the gas giant since 2016.

Juno’s close pass gave us a gorgeous look at the planet’s southern hemisphere, including a sideways sighting of the infamous Great Red Spot, a massive spinning storm that’s about twice the size of Earth. It looks like you could pluck the planet out of the darkness of space and shoot it into a game.

Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill, who describes himself as a “planetary data wrangler” at NASA, processed the images to create the full tableau of clouds and storms dancing across the planet. 

Juno has delivered some wild and crazy images of Jupiter, including a formation that looks like a South Park character and one that took the shape of a dolphin. The marble portrait is simply beautiful to behold, a reminder of the wonders of our solar system.

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