Jupiter’s Great Red Spot A ‘Perfect Storm Of Art And Science’

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) was created by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Click here for a high-resolution version of the photo. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

The first closeup photos of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are in! These were taken during yesterday evening’s close flyby and show the 1.3 Earth-diameter-wide storm in more detail than ever. Trapped between two jet streams, the storm’s been spinning in circles as it slowly drifts around the planet for more than 350 years. Galileo never saw it with his tiny scope, but sketches made not long after by other astronomers later that century clearly show it.

If you could have been there to watch the flyby, it may have looked a lot like this artist depiction. The GRS is 10,159 miles (16,350 km) wide. Credit: NASA/JPL/BjornJonsson/Sean Doran

“These highly-anticipated images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot are the ‘perfect storm’ of art and science. With data from Voyager, Galileo, New Horizons, Hubble and now Juno, we have a better understanding of the composition and evolution of this iconic feature,” said Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science. “We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone.”

I gently processed this image to capture the subtleness of the spot’s color. The Voyager spacecraft found that the Spot rotated once every 6 to 8 days. Wind speeds around the rim were clocked at 270 miles an hour (435 km/hr).  Credit: NASA

And I’m pleased to share them with you. More will be arriving in the coming days.

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was created by citizen scientist Kevin Gill using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft. Click here for the hi-res version.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin Gill