NASA releases new photos of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Monday's encounter with the Great Red Spot was the latest of 12 flyby missions now scheduled by NASA for Juno, which is to make its next close approach to Jupiter's cloud tops on 1 September.

NASA began releasing photos of Jupiter's Great Red Spot on Wednesday, after its spacecraft Juno flew over the planet's raging storm earlier this week.

An American spacecraft has taken the first high resolution photographs of Jupiter's most extraordinary feature, after soaring close to the crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot.

Last week, Juno celebrated a year spent in orbit around Jupiter.

The 16,000-kilometer-wide storm appears as an angry red eye full of whorls and swirls. Scientists are monitoring the instruments to collect data on the origin and evolution of the planet. At the time of perijove, Juno was about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometres) above the planet's cloud tops. The flyby yielded closeups of the gas giant's famed Great Red Spot. A few minutes later, Juno orbited across the face of the Great Red Spot. NASA's Juno spacecraft launched in August of 2011 and just completed a flyby of the spot on July 10th.

For comparison purposes, the Great Red Spot is largeer than two or three planets the size of Earth.

The churning cyclone ranks as the largest known storm in the solar system, measuring about 10,000 miles in diameter with winds clocked at hundreds of miles an hour around its outer edges.

One of the clearest images of the Great Red Spot was taken on June 26th, 1996 by NASA's Galileo spacecraft.

JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute. Six years later, on July 4, 2016, Juno's main engine fired to put the craft into an initial 53-day polar orbit. "We'll search for lightning, signals of maybe water clouds or ammonia ice coming up through this region, we just don't know what to expect".

  • Joey Payne