A NASA spacecraft flew by Jupiter's Great Red Spot on Monday during a science orbit, capturing the first up-close shots of the famous spot. Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. But recent studies suggest the Great Red Spot is shrinking.
Citizen scientists have since processed the raw images, applying color enhancements and other techniques to create breathtaking photos that better highlight details that might have otherwise gone overlooked (most of the images you'll see on news sites and social media are of this variety). The storm is believed to have lasted for over 350 years.
NASA has released images taken by the JunoCam that show Jupiter's Great Red Spot.
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.
All of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating during the flyby, collecting data that are now being returned to Earth.More news: Trump Budget Would Cut Deficit But Wouldn't Balance, CBO Says
Swirling clouds are clearly visible in the 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm, which is big enough to swallow Earth and has been around for centuries.
On July 5 at 3.30am United Kingdom time, Juno logged exactly one year in Jupiter orbit, having travelled a total of 71 million miles (114.5 million km) around the gas giant. Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on September 1.
When at perijove, Juno was almost 3,500km above the planet's cloud tops. Early science results from NASA's Juno mission portray the largest planet in our solar system as a turbulent world, with an intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones.
Juno launched on August 5, 2011.