Jupiter’s northern storm creates a spectacle

Citizen scientists processed an image, taken by the Juno spacecraft, which reveals the true madness in Jupiter’s clouds



This image was taken with the JunoCam on the 10 July 2017. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/G. Eichstädt/S. Doran

This storm resides in the north pole of Jupiter, and the Juno spacecraft managed to take this image during its seventh perijove – which is essentially a flyby past Jupiter. Citizen scientists, Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran, have since processed the original image to emphasise the mayhem that occurs in the clouds of the Jovian giant.

The storm, named North North Temperate Little Red Spot 1 (NN-LRS-1), is an old, anticyclonic oval storm that resides in the southern region of Jupiter’s north pole. An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon, where the winds around a storm move in the opposite direction to that of the flow around a region of low pressure. This anticyclonic oval is the third largest on the planet at roughly 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles), which is close to half the size of Earth.

Not only is this storm enormous, but it is rather old as well. Astronomers first observed this chaotic feature in 1993, but it could still be much older than that. However, they weren’t able to image the feature with as much detail as the JunoCam has provided. This image has also been rotated, so the equator of Jupiter is actually at the top of the image.

The Juno spacecraft took this image on 10 July 2017 at 2:42am GMT while it was completing its seventh perijove. At this point, the spacecraft was 11,444 kilometres (7,111 miles) above the cloud tops. At its closest approach, the spacecraft can get within 4,200 kilometres (2,600 miles).

You can check out JunoCam’s original images, available online here

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