NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Snaps Stunning Photo from Inside Jupiter’s Rings

Jupiter's Rings from Juno by Astronimate

Since its exciting arrival at the king of planets last Independence Day, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been hard at work, deeply examining Jupiter. Not to mention, fascinating finds and awe-inspiring photos have trickled in along the way. Yet, among the most stunning photos so far was of Jupiter’s rings. Released in NASA’s May press release, the image was snapped on August 27 2016!

Most of us instantly associate rings with Saturn. But, our solar system’s largest planet has a faint ring system of its own. In fact, all outer planets have rings (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune). Until now, our only photographic evidence of giant Jupiter’s ring system came from NASA’s Voyager mission in the late 1970s.

Juno’s epic photo opp came during the mission’s first close-up science flyby. Actually, aside from being the only recent photo of Jupiter’s rings, it’s also the only photo looking outward at the rings from the planet.

A bonus treasure beyond Jupiter’s rings

Finally, beyond Jupiter’s rings lie even more treasures in this already legendary photo. Infamous constellation Orion, the hunter appears in the distant background!

In the annotated version of the photo, we see the three obvious “belt” stars. However, dying soon-to-go-supernova star Betelgeuse shines most prominently in the upper-left.

Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRi