spaceSpace and Physics

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Just Took A Very Unusual Image Of Jupiter's Great Red Spot


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer


Jupiter is home to some pretty amazing scenery, and perhaps none is as impressive as the Great Red Spot (GRB).

Over the years we’ve seen a number of glorious images of the storm, thought to have raged for almost 400 years. These have included close-ups peering into its heart, and distant views showing just how big the Earth-sized storm appears on Jupiter.


But you’ve probably never seen it like this before. NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is currently in orbit around Jupiter, snapped a different view of the storm that appears to place it at the top of the planet. It’s actually located in the southern hemisphere of the planet, making the image slightly odd.

The “extraordinary view”, as NASA describes it, was captured during Juno’s 12 close flyby of the gas giant. It was snapped on April 1, with the spacecraft coming as close as 17,329 kilometers (10,768 miles) to the planet during the flyby.

Here's the image in all its glory. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstäd/Seán Doran

Why does the storm appear upside down, then? It’s because Juno is flying over the poles of Jupiter, allowing it to perform some fantastic science. But it can also snap some images that look pretty unusual.

“This new perspective of Jupiter from the south makes the Great Red Spot appear as though it is in northern territory,” said NASA. “This view is unique to Juno and demonstrates how different our view is when we step off the Earth and experience the true nature of our three-dimensional universe.”


The Juno spacecraft is continuing its mission at Jupiter, with its primary mission set to end in July 2018. The mission may well be extended for another few years or so, though, budget permitting. Images like this probably don’t do that case any harm.


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