On July 10, 2017, the Juno space probe buzzed over the greatest storm in the solar system — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt.
The probe, moving at hundreds of miles per hour, flew over the massive raging hurricane — a storm so large that it could swallow the Earth — delivering back to us some of the most amazing images of the planet ever seen.
“For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator, in a press release.
That’s not an exaggeration. The storm is so old that astronomers back in the 1600s might have glimpsed it through their early telescopes. Imagine their awe at what we’ve been able to see today.
“Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm,” Bolton said.
Image from NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major.
The raw images of the flyby were released on July 12, and both scientists and artists immediately got to work.
NASA’s been dumping the raw images of the entire mission on their JunoCam site, where citizen scientists and professionals have been enhancing and remixing them, turning the raw data into amazing works of art.
Image by JunoCam/danielcorttez.
The probe was launched in August 2011 and will run until February 2018. During its mission, Juno has been measuring Jupiter’s gravity, magnetic field, and atmosphere, revealing a world of turbulent storms, high-voltage auroras, and polar cyclones unlike anything on Earth.
The data from this mission will help scientists figure out what truly lies beneath Jupiter’s clouds and how the Jovian giant, and our solar system, came to be.
Image from JunoCam/KenWong.
If nothing else, Juno once again proves how stunning the universe is and how lucky we are to be able to explore it.