Stunning Images Capture First Close-Up With Jupiter's Great Red Spot

NASA's Juno probe releases unprecedented images of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a 16,000-km wide storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

Juno, the spacecraft NASA has orbiting Jupiter right now, flew within 5,600 miles of the Great Red Spot on the evening of Monday, July 10, marking the closest a spacecraft has ever ventured to the Great Red Spot.

Launched Aug. 5, 2011, the solar-powered Juno picked up a gravitational boost during a close flyby of Earth in October 2013, putting the craft on a trajectory to intersect Jupiter.

Jupiter's mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter.

The storm is believed to have been shrinking in recent years. But now, space exploration is at an all-time high and, if projects and mission keep having the incredible success rates we've seen them more or less have by now, we will soon learn many of our Universe's deepest (and maybe darkest) mysteries and secrets. On Earth, the most powerful hurricanes recorded were a mere 1,000 miles wide compared to the 10,000-mile-wide Great Red Spot.

The Juno probe has just brushed with the clouds above the Great Red Spot of the giant planet. It will take weeks, even months, for the science data to come out, and scientists will likely study this flyby for years to come. In the image above (his own work), we see a cropped version of the original JunoCam image in order to put Jupiter's Great Red Spot center-frame.

We've taken our first close-up look at the biggest storm in our solar system.

Juno has been exploring Jupiter since its arrival at the giant planet in July 2016.

The unprocessed JunoCam images of the Great Red Spot will be enhanced to bring out subtle details and other data. At this time, it was about 3,500 km (2,200 mi) above Jupiter's cloud tops.

One point of interest is the effect the storm has on the atmospheric temperature. "We'll search for lightning, signals of maybe water clouds or ammonia ice coming up through this region, we just don't know what to expect".