CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. | A NASA spacecraft circling Jupiter is revealing the up-close beauty of our solar system’s biggest planetary storm.
Juno flew directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on Monday, passing an amazingly close 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the monster storm. The images snapped by JunoCam were beamed back Tuesday and posted online Wednesday. Then members of the public — so-called citizen scientists — enhanced the raw images.
Swirling clouds are clearly visible in the 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm, which is big enough to swallow Earth and has been around for centuries. Scientists say it will take time to analyze everything.
Juno’s next close encounter with the giant gas planet will be in September.
Launched in 2011, Juno arrived at Jupiter last July.