WASHINGTON — If the moon is made of cheese, Jupiter is made of pizza…
Just ask NASA, which shared a 3D infrared video of the planet’s North Pole on Thursday in honor of National Pepperoni Pizza Day.
“Is it delivery or dynamo? Since it’s #National PepperoniPizzaDay, this infrared tour of Jupiter’s North Pole from @NASAJuno has us dreaming of pizza,” NASA tweeted.
The video, which shows the many cyclones and anticyclones permeating the pole, bears striking resemblance to — of course — a mouth-watering slice of pepperoni pizza.
The video also shows the first detailed view of a dynamo, the engine that powers the magnetic field of planets beyond Earth.
Scientists constructed the video earlier this year from data collected by the Juno mission’s Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM). The images were obtained from the spacecraft’s fourth pass over Jupiter.
According to NASA, the yellow (cheese) represents areas that are warmer (or deeper into Jupiter’s atmosphere) and the red (pepperoni) represents areas that are colder (or higher in Jupiter’s atmosphere).
Scientists knead (get it?) such data to better understand the forces at work within the planet, the largest in the solar system.
“Before Juno, we could only guess what Jupiter’s poles would look like,” said Alberto Adriani, Juno co-investigator and senior researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology.
“Now, with Juno flying over the poles at a close distance it permits the collection of infrared imagery on Jupiter’s polar weather patterns and its massive cyclones in unprecedented spatial resolution.”
Juno launched in August 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016. NASA plans to continue the mission until July 2021.
NASA estimates that the Juno mission will cost $1.13 billion. Now that’s a lot of dough!