Just in time for Halloween, NASA released a photo of a creepy “face” staring at us from Jupiter. Juno spacecraft spotted it earlier this fall, and now is definitely the best time to share it. It even reminds me of Edward Munch’s The Scream a bit.
[Related reading: Would a vampire show up in a photo taken on a mirrorless camera?]
NASA’s Juno mission captured the face on Jupiter On September 7, 2023, during its 54th close flyby of the planet. This “face” is located in the giant planet’s far northern regions called Jet N7.
Of course, the face we see results from pareidolia, just like that bear on Mars. Pareidolia is a fun phenomenon that makes us see faces or other patterns in totally random images and places. What the image really shows are turbulent clouds and storms along Jupiter’s terminator (the dividing line between the day and night sides of the planet).
Vladimir Tarasov, a citizen scientist, created this image using raw data from the JunoCam instrument. At the time the raw image was captured, Juno was positioned about 4,800 miles (approximately 7,700 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of roughly 69 degrees north.
If you’d like to play with JunoCam’s raw images, you can find them on a dedicated NASA. Go ahead and check if you can find any more spooky ones like this haunting face on Jupiter. Happy Halloween!