How Juno’s Breathtaking Jupiter Images Are Made
Jupiter’s sandy swirls and blue-hued poles are visible even from Earth. But the Juno spacecraft’s crisp and colourful images begin as warped and dull raw files. The fantastic finished visuals are the result of enthusiastic amateur astronomers, software developers, and artists communicating over message boards. They work together to turn the raw images into accurate art for the space-loving public.
“Image processing is a creative process,” visual artist Seán Doran, who has made a number of the most familiar Jovian images, told Gizmodo. “Every Juno picture is unique and demands a slightly modified approach for each.”
The Juno spacecraft is a basketball court-sized, turbine-shaped probe that left Earth in 2011, flew by again in 2013 for a gravitational assist, and arrived at Jupiter in 2016. Its many instruments have demonstrated that Jupiter is far stranger than astronomers ever could have imagined. But one of its instruments, JunoCam, isn’t really intended for scientists. It’s for amateurs like us.