NASA’s Juno spacecraft beams first pictures from Jupiter

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Pasadena, Calif. (AP) – A NASA spacecraft has sent back the first pictures since arriving at Jupiter.

An image released Tuesday, July 12 shows Jupiter surrounded by three of its four largest moons. The picture was taken on Saturday when the Juno spacecraft was circling 3 million miles away. Even at that distance, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a centuries-old atmospheric storm – was visible.

This July 10, 2016, image released by NASA was taken by the Juno spacecraft, five days after it arrived at Jupiter. The image shows Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and three of its four largest moons. (Juno/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)
This July 10, 2016, image released by NASA was taken by the Juno spacecraft, five days after it arrived at Jupiter. The image shows Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and three of its four largest moons. (Juno/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS via AP)

Juno entered orbit around Jupiter this month after a five-year journey. It’s on a 20-month mission to map the giant planet’s poles, atmosphere and interior.

During the approach, the camera and instruments were powered off as a precaution as Juno braved intense radiation. The instruments were turned back on several days after the arrival.

Scientists have said close-ups of Jupiter won’t come until next month when Juno swings back around.