Maybe you can’t hop on a spaceship and zip off to explore the stars. But if you’re looking for a view that is—ahem—out of this world, you’ve come to the right place. NASA just released some gorgeous, close-up photos of Jupiter, and you won’t believe your eyes when you see them.
Both the raw and edited images, which you can also find on NASA’s website, were snapped by Mission Juno between October and December last year. The spacecraft was only about one Earth diameter away from the gigantic planet at the time, according to NASA. (Speaking of the planets, this is what Mercury in retrograde really means.)
“Each new orbit brings us closer to the heart of Jupiter’s radiation belt, but so far the spacecraft has weathered the storm of electrons surrounding Jupiter better than we could have ever imagined,” Rick Nybakken, project manager for Juno, said in a news release.
The images look like beautiful paintings at first. But in reality, you’re gazing at the wild, turbulent clouds found in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran enhanced and processed many of the photos using data from the JunoCam imager. They’re almost too stunning to be real, right? You’ll never believe that these brilliant things were invented by NASA, either.
Part of the space agency’s New Frontiers program, Juno left Earth in 2011 to gather data about Jupiter’s atmosphere, temperature, and cloud formations. This information can help us understand the origins of both the gas giant and the solar system, scientists say.
Captivated by these gorgeous shots? Next, check out these amazing pictures of what snow looks like from space.