spaceSpace and Physics

The Great Red Spot Takes Center Stage In New Jupiter Picture


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJan 16 2017, 20:56 UTC

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

The Juno probe has been exploring Jupiter since last summer and has captured spectacular views of the giant planet while doing some incredible science.

The latest image release shows a crescent Jupiter shining in the cosmic darkness with its spectacular storm, the Great Red Spot, clearly visible. The image was created by Roman Tkachenko, a citizen scientist, using publicly available data from Juno’s JunoCam.


The Great Red Spot is a hurricane-like storm that's twice as large as our planet and with winds that reach 430 kilometers per hour (270 miles per hour). The Great Red Spot is not alone in making the atmosphere of Jupiter turbulent. In the image, it’s possible to spot the reddish Oval BA storm, as well as four of the eight storms that make the "String of Pearls". This is a series of white counterclockwise storms whose number tends to vary between six and nine.

All the data from JunoCam have been made publicly available by NASA on the instrument's website, so the public can have fun putting them together and processing them. The image in this picture was taken on December 11 during a flyby, although the probe was still considerably farther from the planet than the Moon is from Earth.

Juno has an extremely elliptical orbit around Jupiter, which takes the probe to its closest point above the planet every 54 days. The spacecraft is there to measure what Jupiter is made of as well as to understand its gravitational and magnetic field. The December flyby was its third of an expected 37.

spaceSpace and Physics
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