Imagine a storm so vast it could swallow the Earth and so powerful that it has swirled nonstop for 350 years.
The spacecraft captured images of the Great Red Spot and some other features of Jupiter during its Monday (July 10th) flyby.
The massive storm cloud heats part of Jupiter's atmosphere to hundreds of degrees above what it is elsewhere on the planet. Measuring in at 16,350 kilometers in width, Jupiter's Great Red Spot is 1.3 times as wide as Earth. The spacecraft was only 5,600 miles above the storm, making the images the closest ever of the spot. In more recent times, it has appeared to be shrinking.
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Juno was launched in 2011 and began orbiting Jupiter previous year.
Its Juno mission, which offers an unprecedented view of the solar system's largest planet, capture the photos with its on-board camera. "We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone".
Aside from the University of Iowa helping with creating equipment on Juno, a company in Eastern Iowa may also be paying close attention to the images.
Juno's mission is to understand how Jupiter formed and how it influenced the development of the rest of the solar system. "It will take us some time to analyse all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno's eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the Great Red Spot".
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