NASA's $1 billion Jupiter probe just sent back stunning new photos of the gas giant

Traveling above Jupiter at more than 130,000 miles per hour, NASA's $1 billion Juno probe took its ninth set of stunning flyby images on October 24.

But the sun slipped between the giant planet and Earth for more than a week, blocking the spacecraft from beaming home its precious bounty of data. Now that the conjunction is over, however, new raw image data from Juno's ninth perijove — as the spacecraft's high-speed flybys are called — has poured in.

Researchers posted it all online on Tuesday, and a community of amateurs and professionals has been busily processing the data to yield colorful and stunning new pictures of Jupiter.

"Brand new Jupiter pics from @NASAJuno Perijove 09! What a blimmin' gorgeous/diabolical planet," Seán Doran, a UK-based graphic artist who regularly processes NASA images, tweeted on Tuesday.

Below are some fresh, close-up images of Jupiter, along with other unbelievable views captured from earlier perijoves.

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New photos from NASA's Jupiter probe
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New photos from NASA's Jupiter probe
(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In the most recent flyby, as with the previous eight, Juno's flyby started over Jupiter's north pole.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Source: NASA

The spacecraft then swept within a few thousand miles of the gas giant, capturing stunning high-resolution views of its cloud tops.

At its closest approach to Jupiter during each flyby, the robot briefly becomes the fastest human-made object in the solar system, reaching speeds of around 130,000 miles per hour.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major)

Then Juno flew back out into deep space, passing over Jupiter's south pole on its exit. Churning storms at the poles constantly change their appearance.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Source: NASA

Juno pulls off this two-hour flyby, called a perijove, once every 53 days — the length of its extreme orbit around Jupiter.

Researchers upload the raw data sent by the probe to the mission's website.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

There, enthusiasts take the drab, mostly gray image data and process it all into true-to-life color photos.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Many snapshots of Jupiter take on an artistic quality.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Others dazzle with their detail of the planet's thick cloud bands and powerful storms.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Some of the tempests are large enough to swallow planet Earth — or at least a good chunk of it.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The planet's atmosphere is a turbulent mess of hydrogen and helium gases.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

There are also traces of molecules like ammonia, methane, sulfur, and water, which give the clouds different colors and properties.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The mixture sometimes creates features that look like faces (as seen on the left in this image).

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Other times, shining-white clouds fill up most of a band.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

Many cloud bands have features called chevrons. These atmospheric disturbances blow at several hundreds of miles per hour and sometimes zig-zag through a band, or punch through into others.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

In this older view of Jupiter, from Juno's eighth perijove, two cloud bands battle for dominance — one of which contains a swirling storm many times larger than a hurricane on Earth.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

The spacecraft will continue to document Jupiter for as long as NASA can keep it going. But not forever.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

NASA will eventually destroy the $1 billion robot. That way, it can't accidentally crash into Jupiter's icy moon Europa, contaminate the ocean there, and any alien life it may harbor.

(Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

Sources: Business Insider (12)

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SEE ALSO: Jupiter is so big it does not actually orbit the sun

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