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NASA's Juno Probe Gets Up Close With Jupiter's Famed Red Spot

14 July 2017, 12:39 | Virginia Benson

NASA seeks Jupiter's secrets with historic spacecraft flyover

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this image of the gas giant's Great Red Spot

One of the more impressive shots showed The Great Red Spot, a storm that's has raged for 350 years and is so large it could swallow Earth.

Juno swooped close to Jupiter and passed directly above the Great Red Spot on July 10.

Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno had covered another 39,771 kilometers, and was passing directly above the coiling, crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot.

As of April 3, 2017, the storm measured 10,159 miles across, or roughly 1.3 times as wide as our own planet. The Great Red Spot puts storms on our planet to shame.

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

Juno, the spacecraft, collected photos of the spot.

Southwest Research Institute Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton said: "For generations, people from all over the world and all walks of life have marvelled over the Great Red Spot". The probe's next close encounter will take place on September 1.

The Juno spacecraft flew over the storm late on Monday, offering humanity's closest look yet at the iconic feature of our solar system's largest planet.

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

The JunoCam instrument was added to the probe primarily for public-outreach purposes, scientists with the mission have said. "With data from Voyager, Galileo, New Horizons, Hubble and now Juno, we have a better understanding of the composition and evolution of this iconic feature", said Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science.

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