Nasa's Juno probe sends back new pictures of Jupiter

Last updated at 12:38
Aurora in infraredNASA
An infrared image of an aurora at Jupiter's south pole - something never seen before

Nasa has released spectacular new images of Jupiter taken by its Juno probe.

The pictures show the north and south poles of the gas giant - images that no previous mission has managed to show in such detail.

South PoleNASA
Jupiter's south pole
North PoleNASA
Juno took this picture as it flew over the north pole, from a distance of 195,000km

Juno took the images last weekend as it made its first close pass of the planet since it went into orbit in July.

Naz spoke to space scientist Dr Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester, who is a member of the Juno mission's science team.

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Space scientist Dr Jonathan Nichols tells Newsround about the latest Jupiter images

He told Newsround: "We're learning about the formation of Jupiter and that's really important for the formation of the Solar System as a whole."

Juno's quest is to investigate the secrets of the Solar System by finding out more about its biggest planet - Jupiter.

The spacecraft is currently flying around Jupiter on a course that takes 53 days to complete.

Jupiter facts

  • Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth and 300 times more massive
  • It takes 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun; a "day" is 10 hours long
  • Jupiter's "stripes" are created by strong east-west winds
  • The Great Red Spot is a giant storm twice as wide as Earth