On August 27, NASA’s Juno probe got closer to Jupiter than it’s ever been since its insertion into the planet’s orbit in July, and now we have the pics (well, one anyway) to prove it. Juno completed the first of an anticipated 36 orbital flybys, traveling just 2,600 miles above the planet’s surface.
The Juno probe will complete the remaining 35 flybys between now and February 2018. This first pass gave scientists their best opportunity yet to look at Jupiter up close and gather as much data as possible. Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, confirmed to NASA that everything was going according to plan so far, and that the data the team expected to download from the flyby in the coming days should give us unprecedented detail about the gas giant. That data includes images like the one below.
“We are in an orbit nobody has ever been in before, and these images give us a whole new perspective on this gas-giant world,” Bolton said.
Juno’s photography of the gas giant will only get better from here on out, but it’s pretty impressive already. Check out this amazing half-lit view of the big gas giant: