Juno Sees Two Massive Storms in Jupiter’s Southern Hemisphere

A stunning new image from NASA’s Juno robotic orbiter shows the famed Great Red Spot and a smaller storm called Oval BA.

This image was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed its most recent close flyby of Jupiter on December 21, 2018. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstaedt / Sean Doran.

This image was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed its most recent close flyby of Jupiter on December 21, 2018. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstaedt / Sean Doran.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a giant oval of crimson-colored clouds in the gas giant’s southern hemisphere that race counterclockwise around the oval’s perimeter with wind speeds greater than any storm on Earth.

Measuring approximately 10,000 miles (16,000 km), the storm is 1.3 times as wide as Earth.

Oval BA is about half the size of the Great Red Spot.

It reached its current size when three smaller spots collided and merged in 2000.

The Great Red Spot may have formed from the same process centuries ago.

Juno captured Oval BA in another image earlier on in the mission on February 7, 2018.

The turbulent regions around, and even the shape of, the storm have significantly changed since then.

Oval BA further transformed in recent months, changing color from reddish to a more uniform white.

Juno took the three images used to produce this color-enhanced view on December 21, 2018, between 12:32 p.m. EST (9:32 a.m. PST) and 12:42 p.m. EST (9:42 a.m. PST).

At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between approximately 23,800 miles (38,300 km) to 34,500 miles (55,500 km) from the planet’s cloud tops above southern latitudes spanning 49.15 to 59.59 degrees.

 

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