NASA's Juno spacecraft beams pictures from Jupiter

One of the first images sent by the NASA spacecraft Juno after entering orbit of Jupiter, showing the planet and three of its moons--Io, Europa, and Ganymede. Photo: NASA.
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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- A NASA spacecraft has sent back the first pictures since arriving at Jupiter.

An image released July 12 shows Jupiter surrounded by three of its four largest moons. The picture was taken on July 9 when the Juno spacecraft was circling 3 million miles away. Even at that distance, Jupiter's Great Red Spot - a centuries-old atmospheric storm - was visible.

Juno entered orbit around Jupiter July 4 after a five-year journey. It's on a 20-month mission to map the giant planet's poles, atmosphere and interior.

During the approach, the camera and instruments were powered off as a precaution as Juno braved intense radiation. The instruments were turned back on several days after the arrival.

Scientists have said close-ups of Jupiter won't come until next month when Juno swings back around.

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