Jul 12, 2017
Stunning Close-Ups of Jupiter's Great Red Spot From Juno Probe Flyby Are Here
Images and data are being returned to Earth from the Juno spacecraft’s recent close pass over the GRS on Monday, July 10, when it passed directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops at a height of just 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers). The spacecraft's eight instruments gathered data, including its citizen science-based imager, JunoCam. As soon as the raw images hit the JunoCam website, amateur image processing gurus pounced into action.
The images — the closest ever taken of the GRS — weren’t expected to be available until July 14 because the spacecraft’s main antenna was pointed away from Earth during the closest approach. But they arrived earlier that expected on Wednesday.
“The Juno team must have fast-tracked them!” enthused amateur image processor Kevin Gill, who works as a science data software engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The science team knows there has been avid public interest in Juno’s seventh science flyby over Jupiter’s cloud tops that focused on the GRS.
It will likely take weeks or perhaps months for the science team to analyze the data gathered by Juno’s instruments in order to reveal some of the enduring storm’s secrets. But JunoCam images processed by amateurs can be seen here.
The JunoCam images captured three different views of the GRS. One that looks at the northern edge, one centered as Juno fly right over the GRS, and one looking from the south. The third one also included data with a methane filter.
While the images are stunning, it will be the other instruments that will reveal the most insights into the GRS, the storm that is twice as big as Earth.
Questions abound, such as why is the storm red? Why has it endured for so long, and why has it been shrinking over the past several years?
Read more at Seeker