Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a fantastic force of nature. The giant anticyclone has been widely photographed by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which beamed back stunning images of the bewildering storm over the 2.5 years since it began orbiting the planet.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been around since the 1600s, raging in the planet’s southern hemisphere for more than 350 years.
With Juno recently wrapping up its 16th flyby of Jupiter, the mission’s team has been receiving new, exciting photos from the gas giant’s system, the latest of which features a glorious view “of Jupiter’s turbulent southern hemisphere.”
The gorgeous snapshot was released yesterday by NASA and shows the Great Red Spot as you’ve never seen it before. During its latest flight through Jupiter’s system, Juno has managed to photograph the awe-inspiring hurricane next to another one of the planet’s “massive storms” — the Oval BA hurricane, famously dubbed “Red Jr.”
“This new perspective captures the notable Great Red Spot, as well as a massive storm called Oval BA. The storm reached its current size when three smaller spots collided and merged in the year 2000,” explained NASA officials.
“The Great Red Spot, which is about twice as wide as Oval BA, may have formed from the same process centuries ago.”
While considerably younger than the Great Red Spot, Oval BA is just as bit as fascinating. The newly-emerged storm earned the moniker of “Red Jr.” after astronomers were puzzled to discover that the hurricane — originally white in color, just like the storms that combined to create it — had changed color in late 2005, donning the reddish hue of the Great Red Spot.
“The oval was white in November 2005, it slowly turned brown in December 2005, and red a few weeks ago,” NASA reported in 2006, announcing that Jupiter was growing a new red spot.
Since then, the Oval BA storm has returned to its original coloration, as seen in the newly-released Juno photo. The image was captured by the probe’s JunoCam on December 21, 2018, from a distance of around 30,000 miles from Jupiter’s cloud tops.
The color-enhanced snapshot is a composite image created from three raw photos and was processed by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran. The new Juno pic captures an unprecedented view of the Jupiter’s two massive storms, showing that “Oval BA further transformed in recent months, changing color from reddish to a more uniform white.”
The latest incursion into Jupiter’s system has enabled the Juno probe to snatch incredible photos of the gas giant and its moons. In early January, NASA released another amazing snapshot from Juno’s 17th science pass over the solar system’s largest planet — after the spacecraft captured an active volcanic eruption on Jupiter’s moon Io, as reported by the Inquisitr at the time.