Astronomers Capture Unbelievable Images of Jupiter's Massive Storms

Weeks after locating some of the most energetic winds from a space-faring quasar, the team at Hawaii's Gemini Observatory has captured the best images of Jupiter we've ever seen. As announced through a press release this week, the observatory used a method known as "lucky imaging" to capture the image, which shows a fiery Jupiter with raging storms aplenty. Using several snapshots of the entire planet captured by the astronomers, the process involved stacking 38 separate exposures to form the final piece, the sharpest possible image.

As Andrew Stephens — an astronomer that led the project's observations — says, a grounded comparison for images of this resolution and clarity would see a New York being able to perfectly capture the headlights of a car in Miami.

jupiter gemini observatory
(Photo: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley) and team)

The project was headed by University of California-Berkeley's Michael led the research team, based on Hawaii's Maunakea island.

“The Gemini data were critical because they allowed us to probe deeply into Jupiter’s clouds on a regular schedule,” Wong said in the press release from the observatory. “We used a very powerful technique called lucky imaging,” adds Wong. According to the scientist, the images captured from the Earth-bound telescope rival those images that have been captured from space-based crafts.

The basis of the project was to help map some of the planet's ever-running storms so that scientists can further use the observatory's equipment to "observe Jupiter's atmosphere as a system of winds, gases, heat, and weather phenomena, providing coverage and insight much like the network of weather satellites meteorologist use to observe Earth.

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The observatory was also able to focus in on Jupiter's Big Red Spot, in an attempt to further assess the perpetual storm.

jupiter big red spot
(Photo: NASA, ESA, and M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley) and team)

“These coordinated observations prove once again that ground-breaking astronomy is made possible by combining the capabilities of the Gemini telescopes with complimentary ground- and space-based facilities,” National Science Foundation program director Martin Still added to the statement. “The international Gemini Partnership provides open access to a powerful combination of large telescopes’ collecting area, flexible scheduling, and a broad selection of interchangeable instruments.”

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