Juno spacecraft completes close flyby of Jupiter and its Great Red Spot

Juno spacecraft completes close flyby of Jupiter and its Great Red Spot

The spot is a raging hurricane more than 2.5 times larger than Earth.

"This is a storm bigger than the entire Earth", Dr. Steve Levin, a lead scientist on the Juno mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press statement."It's been there for hundreds of years".

The images of the Great Red Spot were downlinked from the spacecraft's memory on Tuesday and placed on the mission's JunoCam website Wednesday morning.

It then took 11min and 33s for Juno to cover another 39,771km to pass directly above the crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot. The spacecraft passed about 9,000 kilometers above the clouds of this iconic feature.

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

The Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter past year after being launched in 2011.

"For generations people from all over the world and all walks of life have marveled over the Great Red Spot", said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The July 10 fly-by over the planet's iconic Great Red Spot revealed raw, close-up photos created by citizen scientists using data from Juno's JunoCam imager.

The JunoCam instrument on board Juno snapped images of the enormous storm on July 10, and the agency released the raw images to the public on July 12.

Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, described the highly-anticipated images as the "perfect storm" of art and science.

NASA's Juno probe flew by the spot Monday, passing within 5,600 miles of the planets surface to photograph it up close.

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