Juno's first image of Jupiter shows the red spot and moons

Juno arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4 and a few days later the spacecraft was snapping images of the planet and its moons. The very first image that the spacecraft took after going into orbit has been shared by NASA and it's an image showing roughly half of Jupiter and a trio of the planet's moons. In the image along with Jupiter are Io, Europa, and Ganymede.

"This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles."

NASA says that the image was snapped on July 10 at 5:30 UTC when Juno was about 2.7 million miles from Jupiter on the outbound leg of its capture orbit that takes 53.5 days. The color image clearly shows surface features of the atmosphere of Jupiter including the gigantic red spot and other colored bands. NASA notes that the JunoCam used to take the image was turned on six days after Juno fired its main engine and that the first high-resolution images of the planet are a few weeks away.

Specifically the first high-resolution images will be taken on August 27 when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter, but the camera will continue snapping images until then. JunoCam is a color, visible light camera intended to capture images of the poles of Jupiter and cloud tops. This camera isn't one of the mission science instruments. NASA plans for Juno to circle Jupiter 37 times getting as close as 2,600 miles to the clouds. During these close passes, Juno will probe beneath the cloud cover of the planet using its science instruments.