NASA spacecraft sends back detailed pictures of Jupiter's raging, red storm

  • NASA spacecraft sends back detailed pictures of Jupiter's raging, red storm

NASA spacecraft sends back detailed pictures of Jupiter's raging, red storm

"These highly-anticipated images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot are the "perfect storm" of art and science", said Nasa's director of planetary science, Dr Jim Green.

Imagine a storm so vast it could swallow the Earth and so powerful that it has swirled nonstop for 350 years.

The images are humanity's closest look ever at the Great Red Spot.

Images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot reveal a tangle of dark, veinous clouds weaving their way through a massive crimson oval. The storm is 10,000 miles wide.

Lead investigator Scott Bolton said in a statement, "Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special". This is the first time that JunoCam has been positioned to photograph the Great Red Spot up close.

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Kevin Gill using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA's Juno spacecraft.

Sean Korbitz’s enhancement of one of the Juno images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.     NASA  SwRI  MSSS  Sean Korbitz
Sean Korbitz’s enhancement of one of the Juno images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. NASA SwRI MSSS Sean Korbitz

Juno, the spacecraft, collected photos of the spot. Now, data and stunning images are streaming back to NASA, where scientists are processing the information as quickly as they can.

Juno's next rendezvous with Jupiter will take place on September 1.

The spacecraft was launched on August 5 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The JunoCam instrument was added to the probe primarily for public-outreach purposes, scientists with the mission have said.

So far, Juno has discovered the largest planet-Jupiter-is a "turbulent world, with an intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones". It was the closest any human-built object has come to the biggest storm in our solar system. "We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone".