Science

Jupiter's stunning Great Red Spot, seen like never before

Jupiter's stunning Great Red Spot, seen like never before”

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.

According to NASA, the Great Red Spot's winds peak at approximately 400 miles per hour and have been swirling for more than 150 years.

Now thanks to NASA's Juno mission, we've got our closest look ever at the Great Red Spot.

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.

NASA unveiled the first close-up views of Jupiter's Great Red Spot on Thursday, taken from its Juno satellite within just 5,000 miles of the spot's surface.

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The JunoCam instrument on board Juno snapped images of the big storm on July 10, and the agency released the raw images to the public on July 12. It is completing its sixth orbit of the planet, the solar-powered craft will fly around six more times before steering itself to certain, planned death.

Scientists hope to learn more about what drives the storm, and Dr Bolton said it would take some time to analyse the data captured by Juno's eight instruments as it passed over the tempest a height of 9,000km.

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.

"For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorising about Jupiter's Great Red Spot", said Dr Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

Juno was launched in 2011 and began orbiting Jupiter a year ago. "We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone".

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