Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Hubble Image of Jupiter's Red Spot

Astronomers are eagerly awaiting new information about the Great Red Spot, the largest and most colorful storm in the atmosphere of the giant planet Jupiter. The Juno spacecraft just flew as close as 5600 miles over the Red Spot, and the information is coming slowly back to Earth. This giant storm is currently about 10,000 miles wide -- larger than the entire planet Earth -- although it is smaller than when the Voyager spacecraft flew by in the 1970's. Why it has been shrinking and why it's color is so vivid are mysteries planetary scientists are trying to solve. 
In the meantime please enjoy the attached Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter, taken on April 3, when the Earth was closest to Jupiter in its yearly orbit. The Red Spot is vividly clear on this wonderfully detailed image, taken from just a few hundred miles above our planet's surface.  (Click on the image to see it bigger.)