NASA's Stunning New Jupiter Photo Looks Like Expressionist Art

NASA's stunning new photo of Jupiter's surface that looks like expressionist art
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

They say that art mimics life; well, see for yourself, because NASA’s newest image of Jupiter looks like it was taken right from a museum wall or art history textbook.

The agency’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter for just over a year now, and it’s already changing everything we thought we knew about the gas giant. Beyond providing extremely helpful data to scientists, the orbiter also takes beautiful photos, like this one below, which NASA released on Thursday.

Juno took the image as it executed its seventh close flyby of the planet, when it was 10,274 miles away from Jupiter’s cloud tops on July 10 at 10:12 p.m. Eastern. Citizen scientists Seán Doran and Gerald Eichstädt enhanced the photo, and now we all have an absolute masterpiece to feast our eyes on.

Check this out. The colorful bands on the planet are horizontal ammonia clouds, which can stretch down 350 kilometers at Jupiter’s equator, and the famous Great Red Spot is a giant (though shrinking) storm.

Freakin' nuts.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt /Seán Doran

But seriously, there’s some artistic plagiarism going on here, either on the part of expressionist painters or of Jupiter (hey, scientists do say that its stormy clouds change shape over time). Look at these examples.

Jupiter’s atmosphere has a real expressionist-sky vibe. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” from 1893:

"The Scream."


Or of course, the widely-beloved Vincent van Gogh painting from 1889, “The Starry Night”:

"The Starry Night"


And Jupiter’s pulling off the wackiness of abstract expressionism, expressionism’s descendant:

Jackson Pollock’s “Mural” from 1943:



Gerhard Richter’s “Wallace Bournes,” undated:

"Wallace Bournes"


It’d be hard to blame NASA scientists if they don’t bother visiting art museums. They’ve already got the best view.

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