Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Imaged Like Never Before

By Carl Engelking | July 12, 2017 3:52 pm
jupiter-red-spot

(Credit: Scot Hampton)

On Monday, a human-built object got closer than any other before it to the most iconic, raging storm in the solar system.

That is, of course, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, an anticyclone that’s been swirling for hundreds of years, stuck between two of the planets jet stream bands. It’s a storm twice the size of Earth, and wind speeds there top out at roughly 400 miles per hour. And earlier this week, NASA’s Juno spacecraft dipped 2,200 miles above the turbulence to get a closer look at what’s going on.

Stargazers first identified the spot in the 1600s, and this is the closest glimpse ever afforded to mankind. While scientists know the Great Red Spot has stuck around for quite some time, they don’t know the cause of its reddish color or what keeps the storm brewing. By learning more Jupiter and its spot, NASA researchers could apply their findings to analyzing weather patterns here on Earth.

In the meantime, enjoy the latest batch of images provided by Juno, and the savvy photo editors who turned the craft’s raw image data into stunning pictures.

Great Red Close-Up

red-spot-detail

(Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

From Ernie Mastroianni of Discover

RedSpot6b

Hammerhead Swirl

(Credit: Scot Hampton)

(Credit: Scot Hampton)

First Shot

(Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/TSMITH

(Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/TSMITH)

Turbulence, Red Level Adjusted

turbulence

(Credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/O.Sli.)

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: solar system
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  • OWilson

    An unbelievable, incalcuable amount of energy is required to keep this planet boiling.

    I would imagine that most of this energy comes directly from the sun?

    If that is the case, could not the sun be capable of producing most of the energy that has seen the Earth’s average temperature rise a slight 0.21 degrees over the last 38 years (NOAA)?

    • George Kapotto

      You are totally correct. The sun has produced that vast majority of the energy behind the increase in atmospheric temperature. This is not, nor ever has been, in dispute.

      Since man has been dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, it has formed a greater insulating blanket keeping that heat close to the Earth for longer. And that is what has been causing the temperature to rise.

      Imagine a wood stove in a cabin. The cabin stays warmer in winter if you keep the door closed. Raising the atmospheric CO2 level is like closing the door to prevent escaping heat.

    • Rand Johnson

      No, no, and no. Nice try though. It’s energy isn’t “incalcuable”. Most of Jupiter’s energy is produced internally. It gives off more energy than it receives. …and the sun’s energy fluctuates greatly and constantly. …and it’s effects have been well documented and calculated into the effects of global warming. None of what you stated is an unknown to the scientific community.

      • OWilson

        I stand corrected. Thanks for the info!

        (I come here to learn! :)

  • Mike Richardson

    Wow, talk about looking into the maelstrom. Also, for those unaware, Jupiter radiates more heat generated internally than it receives from the sun. Possibly the energy source sustaining the Great Red Spot and other such long-lived superstorms.

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