Jupiter's Great Red Spot Just Got Its Close-Up

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this image of the gas giant's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's Great Red Spot Just Got Its Close-Up

Nasa's spacecraft Juno soared close to the crimson cloud tops of Jupiter's most extraordinary feature - the Great Red Spot - to capture some incredible photos. The spot is a raging hurricane more than 2.5 times larger than Earth.

"For hundreds of years, scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter's Great Red Spot", Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator who's based at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in the statement. NASA says the images represent the first close-up view of the iconic red storm that swirls above Jupiter.

As of April 3, 2017, the storm measured 10,159 miles across, or roughly 1.3 times as wide as our own planet.

According to NASA, the storm may be 350-years-old.

It will fly by again on September 1.

NASA's Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter since July 2016, orbiting the massive planet five times so far, and collecting a lot of valuable data in the process.

When at perijove, Juno was almost 3,500km above the planet's cloud tops.

An enhanced-color image of the Great Red Spot created by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt. The spacecraft passed about 9,000 kilometers above the clouds of this iconic feature.

Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Juno's mission is to understand how Jupiter formed and how it influenced the development of the rest of the solar system.

The images were taken on Monday as Juno swung past the biggest planet in the solar system, just 5,600 miles above the surface. "We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone".

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