Caption

NASA captures stunning close-up photos of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

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

» RELATED: Jupiter revealed: NASA mission finds swirling storms at poles, weird magnetic fields

The gas giant’s Great Red Spot, a 10,000-mile-wide anticyclone, is regarded as the solar system’s most powerful storm.

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.

» RELATED: ‘We’re probably not alone’ — NASA finds evidence of 10 new Earth-size planets that could have life

For comparison, the most powerful hurricanes recorded on Earth spanned more than 1,000 miles with winds up to 200 miles per hour.

Scientists have been monitoring the huge storm since 1830 and believe it may have existed for more than 350 years.

The Great Red Spot measures 10,159 miles in width (1.3 times as wide as Earth) and, according to NASA, it appears to be shrinking.

» RELATED: NASA says it’s not running a child slave colony on Mars

Juno launched in 2011 and entered Jupiter’s orbit in 2016. So far, scientists have learned that Jupiter’s poles are completely covered in Earth-sized storms and its magnetic field is even stronger than they initially expected.

The July 10 fly-by over the planet’s iconic Great Red Spot revealed raw, close-up photos created by citizen scientists using data from Juno’s JunoCam imager.

» RELATED: This is the most accurate map of the Great American Eclipse’s path of totality to date

“Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to analyze all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno’s eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the Great Red Spot,” Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton said in a news release.

Take a look at some of the photos created using JunoCam data below:

Enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran © PUBLIC DOMAIN)

» RELATED: ‘Behemoth’ iceberg officially breaks from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf — 7 things to know

Enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin Gill)
Enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt)

» RELATED: 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August 

Enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. The hourglass shape of the image reflects the way the camera operates as the Juno spacecraft spins in flight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major)

» RELATED: A solar eclipse can blind you — here’s how to stay safe during August’s Great American Eclipse 

Enhanced-color image of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, processed in Lightroom. The hourglass shape of the image reflects the way the camera operates as the Juno spacecraft spins in flight. (NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Sean Korbitz © PUBLIC DOMAIN)

For more images, visit missionjuno.swri.edu, NASA’s official JunoCam photo database.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Woman left brain damaged after cosmetic surgery
  2. 2 Who won ‘American Idol’ season 16? | Radio and TV Talk
  3. 3 Smyrna rejects massive development next to Braves stadium

More from AJC