Jupiter goes psychedelic in whirling clouds video

See the swirling clouds of Jupiter dance in a new animation with images taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft.

Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.

We've been seeing a lot of Jupiter lately since NASA's Juno spacecraft arrived at the gas giant in mid-2016. We've feasted our eyes on gorgeous still images of the planet's crazy cloud patterns, but a pair of citizen scientists have now given us an almost hallucinatory Jupiter video.

The animation extrapolates the movement of the clouds based on Juno still images taken April 1. 

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran have been working with raw Juno images to give us an enhanced look at the planet. NASA encourages space fans to download the Juno views, do their own image processing and share them online.

Eichstädt sees the animation as a starting point for a deeper study of movement in Jupiter's atmosphere. "This animation represents a 'feasibility test.' Building on this initial work, we can add in more variables that will give us a more detailed description and physical understanding of Jupiter's atmosphere," he says

Eichstädt and Doran shared their efforts during a workshop at the Royal Astronomical Society in London this week. They also presented a spectacular new composite image of Jupiter showing most of the planet.  


This composite image of Jupiter comes from Juno views captured on April 1.

NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Juno is on a mission to study Jupiter's atmosphere to learn more about the planet's formation and evolution. "As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars," says NASA.

Jaw-dropping Jupiter: NASA's Juno mission eyes the gas giant

See all photos