This week the astronomers at NASA spent a lot of time gazing at the two largest planets in our solar system — Jupiter and Saturn. The Juno and Cassini spacecraft are busily sending back information scientists use to learn more about the two planets, resulting in some gorgeous images and even GIFs.
Every 53 days, the Juno spacecraft makes a two-hour journey around Jupiter’s poles, swooping in for a close-up. This resulted in a spectacular shot of Jupiter’s south pole taken just 32,000 miles up, showcasing the planet’s turbulent surface. There are multiple Earth-sized cyclones, deep storm systems, and an enormous magnetic field 10 times stronger than Earth’s strongest magnetic field.
Meanwhile, Cassini—still on its fateful farewell tour—captured summer solstice on Saturn on May 24, an event that only happens once every 15 Earth-years. As the planet slowly orbits the sun, the hexagon at the center of its north pole has become increasingly covered in a yellow haze. Scientists believe the haze is caused by smog particles, which are created by growing solar radiation. Two natural color views, taken on June 2013 and April 2017, show the yellowing pole.
But that’s not all. There’s also a snap of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, cosmic dust surrounding a bright star, and a supermassive black hole the size of four million suns at the center of our galaxy. And if you’re still curious about all the universe has to offer, here’s the entire collection.