Juno, the spacecraft traveling around Jupiter, collected a series of fascinating findings regarding the giant of the Solar System. Now, it offered NASA researchers an insight on the Great Red Spot, the big storm which kept growing for almost two hundred years. It was first observed in 1830, but researchers think it might actually be a lot older.
Juno discovered the root of the Great Red Spot
This year in July, Juno flew right above the Great Red Spot in the first journey of this type ever made by a spacecraft. It turns out the storm actually spread at far bigger depths below the atmospheric clouds. All the findings were presented by NASA during the American Geophysical Fall Meeting that took place this Monday.
To offer a better image of how the Great Red Spot looks like from a smaller distance, they released a video depicting Juno’s journey over it. Most of the images in the video come from the imager aboard the spacecraft, called JunoCam, but some of them have also been generated on the computer.
The images in the video are both simulations and actual footage from Juno
As mentioned above, the Great Red Spot goes quite deep into the clouds. For a long time, researchers have been wondering where this huge storm ends, and this video offers a partial answer to this question. The footage contains an altitude meter, allowing the watchers to understand how deep the spacecraft went.
Also, the images inside the Great Red Spot have been processed with the help of a Microwave Radiometer. By knowing how deep it runs, they could find out what kind of computer models they needed to perform to create more images and simulations of the storm. No storm on Earth could be as big and with such a deep root as the Red Spot, so the researchers knew from the start what kind of simulations they should rule out.
The findings have been presented during the meeting, but they can also be found online, on NASA’s website.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory