BBC Earth (Asia) - - Update -

NASA’s Juno probe has de­liv­ered the goods yet again. This time, with pho­tos of Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot that were taken on 10 July.

The stun­ning im­ages were pieced to­gether by cit­i­zen sci­en­tists us­ing raw data taken from the JunoCam as the probe passed just 3,500km above the planet’s cloud tops – the clos­est any hu­man-made ob­ject has come to the storm.

“I have been fol­low­ing the Juno mis­sion since it launched,” said cit­i­zen sci­en­tist Ja­son Ma­jor, who pro­duced one of the im­ages. “It is al­ways ex­cit­ing to see th­ese new raw im­ages of Jupiter as they ar­rive. But it is even more thrilling to take the raw im­ages and turn them into some­thing that peo­ple can ap­pre­ci­ate. That is what I live for.”

Mea­sur­ing 16,350km across, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a vast, rag­ing storm 1.3 times as wide as Earth. It has been un­der ob­ser­va­tion since 1830 and is be­lieved to have ex­isted for more than 350 years.

Early anal­y­sis of data taken by Juno por­trays Jupiter as a highly tur­bu­lent world, with a com­plex in­te­rior struc­ture, en­er­getic po­lar au­ro­ras, and huge po­lar cy­clones.

“For hun­dreds of years sci­en­tists have been ob­serv­ing, won­der­ing and the­o­ris­ing about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot,” said Juno’s prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor Scott Bolton. “Now we have the best pic­tures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to an­a­lyse all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno’s eight sci­ence in­stru­ments, to shed some new light on the past, present and fu­ture of the Great Red Spot.”

En­hanced colour im­age of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

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