Science

NASA spacecraft beams back close-up views of Jupiter’s poles

This photo taken by the Juno spacecraft 120,000 miles (195,000 kilometers) away from the planet shows Jupiter's north polar region. The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A NASA spacecraft has sent back the best views of Jupiter yet, revealing turbulent storms in the north pole.

NASA on Friday released a batch of close-up pictures taken by the Juno spacecraft last week when it flew within 2,500 miles of Jupiter’s cloud tops. It was the first of three dozen planned close passes during the 20-month mission.

The mission’s chief scientist, Scott Bolton, says the north pole is stormy and appears bluer than the rest of the planet.

Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is a gas giant shrouded in colorful stripes and swirls.

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Juno entered orbit around Jupiter in July after a five-year journey to map the planet’s poles, atmosphere and interior. It’ll fly closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft.