This computer-generated image is based on an infrared image of Jupiter’s north polar region that was acquired on February 2, 2017, by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard Juno during the spacecraft’s fourth pass over Jupiter.
The image shows the structure of the cyclonic pattern observed over Jupiter’s North pole: a central cyclone surrounded by eight circumpolar cyclones with diameters ranging from 2,500 to 2,900 miles (4,000 to 4,600 kilometers) across.
JIRAM is able to collect images in the infrared wavelengths around 5 micrometers (µm) by measuring the intensity of the heat coming out of the planet. The heat from a planet that is radiated into space is called the radiance.
This image is an enhancement of the original JIRAM image. In order to give the picture a 3-D shape, the enhancement starts from the idea that where the radiance has its highest value, there are no clouds and JIRAM can see deeper into the atmosphere. Consequently, all the other areas of the image are originally shaded more or less by clouds of different thickness. Then, to create these pictures, the originals have been inverted to give the thicker clouds the whitish color and the third dimension as the clouds we normally see here in the Earth’s atmosphere.