Monitored since 1830, the Great Red Spot massive storm on Jupiter has an estimated width of 16,000 km and has been churning for centuries, but not much is known about the forces driving it. In modern times, it appears to be shrinking.
Part of the reason astronomers wanted Juno to get close to the Great Red Spot and inspect it is to learn more about how the storm operates. Juno snapped the pictures using its camera after it hovered 5,600 miles over the Red Spot's clouds. "Here's the largest and most fierce storm in the entire solar system and it's lasted hundreds of years, so that's a lot different than anything else we've ever studied".
During the flyby, all of Juno's science instruments and the spacecraft's JunoCam were operating, collecting data that are now being returned to Earth. Perhaps more importantly, other instruments on board the spacecraft will observe below the surface of the planet and determine what atmospheric processes are at work to drive the Great Red Spot and allow it to persist for so long.More news: Major technical glitch hits National Stock Exchange; cash, F&O trade affected
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This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter's Great Red Spot.
Juno has been exploring Jupiter since its arrival at the giant planet in July 2016.
JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute. It is noticeably a deep, red orb that is surrounded by layers of different colors of pale yellow, orange and white. At the time of perijove, Juno was about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops. The spacecraft flew just 9,000 kilometers above the famous storm on July 10. This was humanity's first up-close and personal view of the big feature, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed. Keep in mind to share your creations with us in the comments!