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Jupiter as seen by Juno
Jupiter’s clouds swirl in a view captured by NASA’s Juno orbiter during Perijove 14. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran)

NASA’s Juno orbiter made another close pass of Jupiter this week, and that means there’s another crop of stunning pictures embellished by legions of citizen scientists.

Every 53 days, the bus-sized spacecraft reaches the closest point in its orbit around the giant planet.  The latest flyby, known as Perijove 14, took place late Sunday night and brought Juno within about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) of the giant planet’s cloud tops.

Juno’s main mission is to measure Jupiter’s magnetic field and gravitational field, and gain insights about its internal composition. But it has a camera called JunoCam that’s specifically designed to provide data for image-processing gurus to work their magic with.

Offerings are being posted on the Juno mission’s website, and on Twitter as well. Here’s a sampling of the top tweets:

It’s been quite a week for Jupiter: In addition to Perijove 14, the Juno team has released infrared imagery suggesting that there may be a previously undetected volcano near the south pole of Io, one of Jupiter’s moons.

The newly detected hot spot is about 200 miles from a heat source that’s already been mapped, Alessandro Mura, a Juno mission co-investigator from Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics.

“We are not ruling out movement or modification of a previously undiscovered hot spot, but it is difficult to imagine one could travel such a distance and still be considered the same feature,” Mura said in a NASA news release.

Io is considered the solar system’s most volcanically active world, with more than 150 active volcanoes identified so far. Scientists estimate that another 250 are still waiting to be discovered.

And as if that’s not enough Jupiter enjoyment, this week a different group of scientists gave out details about their discovery of a dozen moons of Jupiter. The additions boost the planet’s tally of moons to 79. That’s a solar system high, and scientists say there are almost certainly more mini-moons to be found.

So what’s next? One thing we can count on is that there’ll be more gems from Jupiter in September, when Perijove 15 takes place.

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