JUPITER’S GREAT RED SPOT CAPTURED IN UNPRECEDENTED DETAIL
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