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NASA data processed by citizen scientists show stunning pink storms on Jupiter

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Matt Brealey/Gustavo B C
Stormy weather.
By Johnny Simon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

NASA’s orbiter Juno has captured countless scenes of the sweeping, curling clouds over planet Jupiter. But one image from the solar system’s biggest planet, taken in February, reveals a small club of brighter, craggier-looking clouds; this, says NASA, is a storm on Jupiter’s northern pole.

Citizen scientist Matt Brealey, a visual effects specialist with a passion for using NASA’s raw data, processed the image from the publicly available satellite imaging data. His processed image was then edited by another citizen scientist who goes by “Gustavo B C” on the Juno mission’s image-sharing forum.

“For this shot in particular the white cloud in the middle of the shot jumps out as being somewhat unusual, even for Jupiter,” Gustavo said, describing what excited him about the image’s distinctive cloud formation. He added an overall pinkish hue, which matches up with the common depictions of Jupiter as orange to pink ombre.

Brealey’s math put just the storm at roughly 14,000 kilometers (around 8,700 miles) across.

NASA frequently releases raw data from its various missions for enthusiasts to tinker with. “There is no formal relationship between NASA and the citizen scientists, we basically set up the website and hoped people would be interested,” a NASA representative said in an email. You can see more images processed by citizen scientists on the website for the Juno mission.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Matt Brealey/Gustavo B C
The full image of storm clouds on Jupiter.

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