Two Views of Jupiter Hot Spot
This composite image shows a hot spot in Jupiter's atmosphere. In the image on the left, taken on Nov. 8, 2020, by NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on the island of Hawaii, the hot spot appears bright in the infrared. The inset image on the right, taken by the JunoCam visible-light imager (also on Nov. 8, during Juno's 30th perijove pass), the hot spot appears dark and is flanked by high light-colored clouds to the south and a bright white storm to the west.
Jupiter's hot spots have been known for a long time. On Dec. 7, 1995, the Galileo probe likely descended into a similar hot spot. To the naked eye, Jupiter's hot spots appear as dark, cloud-free spots in Jupiter's equatorial belt, but at infrared wavelengths, they are extremely bright, revealing the warm, deep atmosphere below the clouds.
High-resolution images of hot spots such as these are key to understanding the role of storms and waves in Jupiter's atmosphere and to solving the mystery of Jupiter's elusive water.
Citizen scientist Kevin Gill processed the image to enhance the color and contrast, with further processing by Tom Momary to map the JunoCam image to the IRTF data.
The NASA IRTF is a 10.5-foot-diameter (3.2-meter-diameter) telescope optimized for infrared observations and is managed for NASA by the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai'i.
JunoCam's raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at
https://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing. More information about NASA citizen science can be found at https://science.nasa.gov/citizenscience and https://www.nasa.gov/solve/opportunities/citizenscience.