Juno mission
Juno's view of Jupiter's south pole NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

Juno is orbiting Jupiter right now and Nasa has just released a few more pictures of the gas giant, this time, showing its south pole.

The images were captured by Juno as the spacecraft completed its tenth close flyby of the planet. The pictures, notes Nasa, have been made to seem as if Jupiter is not as large as it actually is. Empty spaces have been added for visual effect.

In fact, the planet is big enough to comfortably accommodate 11 Earths across its disc. Although these images were captured in December last year, they were published recently, notes the space agency.

Jupiter- Juno
A time-lapse image of the entire southern hemisphere of Jupiter NASA / SwRI / MSSS/ Aran Anderson

The images were shot at an altitude of about 104,446 kilometres from the Jovian cloud tops at a latitude of 83.9 degrees south, directly below the planet. The spatial scale in this image is 70.2 kilometres/ pixel.

The Juno mission began in August 2011 as part of Nasa's New Frontiers Program. It arrived at Jupiter by July 2016 and the initial mission is to have it orbit the planet 12 times. It is managed by a Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Juno has already completed 10 orbits as of now. The mission has a budget planned out till July 2018 but it might be extended if needed, Nasa says.

Amtheg he many objectives of the mission is an attempt to peer within the planet's dense cloud tops and determine its global structure. This is something that has not been attempted before, notes Nasa. Juno will be, "mapping variations in the atmosphere's composition, temperature, clouds and patterns of movement down to unprecedented depths."

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