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NASA probe Juno captures Jupiter's poles in glorious detail

Five years after departing for space, Juno’s finally taken some nice snaps.

NASA/ Roman Tkachenko (CC BY)

In August 2011 NASA sent a probe the size of a basketball court into space on a mission to observe Jupiter. Now, five years later, the $1 billion dollar probe has something to show for it's 415 million mile journey. Named Juno, the probe has managed to photograph Jupiter's poles for the first time, capturing the planet's mysterious auroras and unique cloud formations after a few technical errors.

Getting these photos hasn't exactly been easy for Juno. With Jupiter's radiation belts proving hazardous to its electronics, the drone has had to carefully swing in wide arcs in order to avoid spending too much time exposed to the damaging particles. With these maneuvers only taking place once every two months, Juno recently completed its fifth maneuver, returning with stunning photographs of Jupiter that it streamed back to Earth.

While the original images were sent back in black and white, amateur astronomers have taken the time to retouch the shots in full color. You can see a selection of the edited photos in their full vibrant glory below:

Here's a close-up of Jupiter's swirling cloud tops.