Jupiter's Great Red Spot Imaged Like Never Before

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter taken by the Juno Spacecraft on its flyby over the storm

On July 10, NASA's Juno completed a close flyby of the gas giant Jupiter and explored its phenomenal Great Red Spot (GRS) while completing its sixth science orbit.

Juno originally arrived at Jupiter on July 4th, 2016, and has since completed six orbits while conducting scientific investigations.

A couple of days ago, NASA followed through with its plan to send the spacecraft closer to Jupiter's massive storm than ever before, and the agency has just released the very first images from that encounter. The Great Red Spot, which is 1.3 times as wide as Earth, has appeared to be shrinking in modern times.

The Juno probe has just brushed with the clouds above the Great Red Spot of the giant planet.

Typically, a team of NASA scientists chooses which images a spacecraft collects on its path around a planet.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Imaged Like Never Before
Jupiter's Great Red Spot Imaged Like Never Before

Likewise, no one knows why the Great Red Spot has shrunk over the past several decades, becoming more circular than oval, whether the reduction is a transient phenomenon or an indicator that the storm may be dissipating. Here's a shot with the Great Red Spot looking so placid you might forget it rages with winds up to 400 miles an hour. The spacecraft's eight instruments gathered data, including its citizen science-based imager, JunoCam.

"This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries".

The unprocessed JunoCam images of the Great Red Spot will be enhanced to bring out subtle details and other data. It goes so far up into Jupiter's atmosphere that it reaches 5 miles above the planet's clouds.

Nasa said the fly-by of the Juno spacecraft, surveying the 16,000km-wide storm, had been scheduled at 9.55pm on Monday (9.55am yesterday Singapore time).

"Now we are finally going to see what this storm looks like up close and personal", Bolton said.

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