This week the planets are taking over—starting with Jupiter, king of the solar system. The Juno spacecraft entered the planet’s orbit on July 1, 2016 and has been beaming back mind-blowing photos of the gas giant ever since. Above, Jupiter’s southern hemisphere is a dizzying mosaic of swirling storms.
Moving further out into the solar system, we find ourselves at Saturn. Many tiny moons orbit the ringed planet—some of them near the rings, themselves. The small one featured in the gallery above is Pandora, a potato-shaped satellite that orbits just beyond Saturn’s F Ring. Pandora and its partner moon, Prometheus (not pictured), are responsible not only for feeding material into the F Ring, but small perturbations that result in small, wave-like kinks in its shape.
Speaking of Saturn’s satellites, consider its second largest: Enceladus. Scientists have long wondered what fuels the moon’s famous surface geysers. This week, a paper was published showing that it could have something to do with the its highly porous core. Every time Enceladus orbits Saturn, gravity tugs on the moon, causing friction and heat in the satellite’s subsurface ocean—heat that could power the photogenic plumes of water vapor.
Not done jetting around space? Check out the full collection of photos here.