NASA spacecraft to fly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

NASA           This Week at NASA Juno's Spectacular Flyby of Jupiter and More

NASA This Week at NASA Juno's Spectacular Flyby of Jupiter and More

It has been monitored since 1830 and has possibly existed for more than 350 years.

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 July 10 flyby was Juno's seventh close approach to the planet; in total, it will orbit Jupiter 37 times, with the closest pass bringing the spacecraft within about 2,100 miles (3,400km) of the cloud tops.

"This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries".

The plucky probe made it through without a scratch.

The agency has uploaded raw images featuring the spot and the area around it on the JunoCam website.

"For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter's Great Red Spot", said lead researcher Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The massive weather system - its composition and internal dynamics are still something of a mystery - could help scientists understand weather on Earth and on worlds beyond our solar system. Recent experiments suggest that the storm's red color is caused by a reaction in Jupiter's upper atmosphere when energetic ultraviolet photons in sunlight hit ammonia and acetylene gas.

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