We’re departing Earth and heading out to just beyond the main asteroid belt in fact, to hang out by Jupiter. With its grand bands of winds, dizzying storms and anticyclones, and puffy clouds larger than Earth itself, Jupiter never disappoints.
During the formation of our solar system, Jupiter likely sucked up a lot of material and kicked a bunch of stuff around, including flinging objects into orbit. (It has dozens of known moons .) Astronomers have been spying Jupiter for centuries—ciao, Galileo!—and now with the Juno spacecraft, astronomers are taking their research to an, er, interplanetary atmospheric level.
So much remains unknown about the gas giant. What exactly makes up its core? How is water being mixed with ammonia and other chemicals in the clouds? Efforts like Juno are all about gaining new insights into what happened 4 billion years ago when our solar system was slowly coming together.
Be a part of something truly big: A whole universe awaits in WIRED’s collection of space photos, found here.
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