One of the most noticeable features on Jupiter is a storm larger than the Earth that is believed to be continuously raging for over three hundred and fifty years. The Great Red Spot is over 16,000 kilometers wide, and has been directly observed since 1830. On 10 July, NASA’s Juno spacecraft passed just 9,000 kilometers over the storm, allowing astronomers to observe the storm from up close.
The raw images are available to the public on the NASA subsite dedicated to Juno Observations. Users can download the images, and process them in any way they please, including cropping and colour correction. If the results are pleasing and have widespread appeal, users can upload them back to the site, and NASA can feature the results for everyone to see. The Junocam on board Juno has been designed to increase the engagement of the space agency and the astronomers with the general public.
Additional images and data are expected from this flyby. The Juno spacecraft is named after the Roman goddess who was the daughter of Saturn and the wife of Jupiter. All the scientific instruments on board the spacecraft were functioning during the flyby. The next close flyby of Juno is scheduled for 1 September.