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Brilliant Jupiter image shows off planet's sunny swirls

Jupiter looks fetching in an enhanced Juno space probe image highlighting the gas giant's exotic sunlit atmosphere.

jupiterrise.jpg
The sunny side of Jupiter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Mai

NASA's Juno spacecraft arrived at the massive gas-giant planet Jupiter in July and it brought a camera along to take some stunning vacation pics. NASA is happily sharing raw JunoCam images with the public for anyone to download and play with. That's how we got a new, gorgeous view of Jupiter lit up by the sun. NASA calls it a "Jupiterrise."

The enhanced Jupiterrise photo comes from citizen-scientist Alex Mai, who processed some of Juno's south pole images to render the final, glowing view NASA shared on Thursday. Blow up the image and you start to see all the swirling details of the planet's atmosphere.

Juno, launched in 2011, is on a mission to learn more about Jupiter's origins and evolution. In turn, we hope to learn more about the formation of our solar system. Juno's close-up images add to the intrigue surrounding the gas giant and help to keep the public engaged with the fascinating mission.