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12 Jul 2017

NASA spacecraft to fly over Jupiter's 'Great Red Spot' soon!

Juno Mission: On to solving Jupiter's mysteries

Ending a long wait, NASA's Juno spacecraft is soon expected to fly by Jupiter's 'Great Red Spot' attempting to solve the mystery over factors causing the great storm, that has been raging in the planet for centuries.

According to NASA, the unmanned mission which recently marked its first year in orbit, will provide "the humanity's first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature."

In context

Juno Mission: On to solving Jupiter's mysteries

NASA's Juno mission

Juno, a probe mission to study aspects including Jupiter's atmospheric composition and gravitational field was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force station in August 2011. It became the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter after the Galileo orbiter (1995-2003) on July 5, 2016.

What is the 'Great Red Spot'?


What is the 'Great Red Spot'?

Classified as Jupiter's 'best known feature', the Great Red Spot (GRS) refers to a zone of high pressure located 22 degrees south of the planet's equator, causing a constant anticyclonic storm.

It has been under observation since 1830.

A common feature associated with gaseous planets, the GRS takes six earth days to rotate and is large enough to fit two-three earth-sized planets!

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The colors of the Great Red Spot

The GRS assumes different colors at different times varying from pale salmon to brick red. It often disappears and can only be viewed through the Red Spot Hollow in Jupiter's Southern Equatorial Belt (SEB).


Can Juno solve the mystery behind the Great Red Spot?

Juno is the first space mission to gather data on the GRS.

Juno is expected to pass within 5,600 miles of the Spot's surface and is expected to use all of its eight instruments including its camera, the JunoCam to measure key features of the storm.

Its instruments specifically intended to penetrate clouds are further expected to measure 'how deep the storm goes'.

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