JUL 03, 2017 6:00 AM PDT

Juno Will Soon Fly Over Jupiter's Great Red Spot

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Jupiter is one of the most mysterious planets in our Solar System, but fortunately, we have a probe with modern observation equipment studying the giant gassy planet up close so we can learn more about it and its strange characteristics.

This spacecraft, which we call Juno, arrived at Jupiter on Independence Day (July 4th) of 2016. While it did experience a few technical difficulties with its onboard computers and its engines that forced engineers to keep Juno in an undesirable orbital pattern, the probe continues to collect useful data.

This probe will be spending its (almost) one-year anniversary flying past Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on July 10th, enabling researchers to get some much-needed photographs and data about the highly-misunderstood storm that has been roaring through the planet’s clouds for centuries.

Juno is going to fly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot soon to see what makes it tick.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

"Jupiter's mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter," said Juno’s principal investigator Scott Bolton.

"This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special."

Related: This is what Jupiter's magnetic field sounds like to Juno

The Great Red Spot is two-to-three times the size of Planet Earth, so to call it large is an understatement. This spot is really a massive swirling storm that was produced by Jupiter’s atmosphere. While it's a lot like a hurricane, it's very different with unique porperties.

In between the North and South poles of the planet are a sandwich of clouds moving in opposite directions; this friction keeps the spin-off going due to friction between the high and low-pressure clouds. 

While we don’t know much about the Great Red Spot, we do know it’s several times more powerful than any hurricane our planet can come up with. Scientists estimate the Great Red Spot has wind speeds as high as 384 miles per hour, which puts even a category 5 hurricane on Earth to shame.

At these speeds, the Great Red Spot has the single-highest wind speed ever detected on any planet, which is a huge area of interest for scientists.

Related: Here are some incredible photographs of Juptier taken by Juno

While we’re not entirely sure what to expect, Juno’s cloud-penetrating observation equipment will give scientists more than what they need to learn about how the Great Red Spot works and how it has lasted so long. It should be interesting to see what becomes of the research when NASA finally publicizes their findings.

Source: NASA/JPL

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 10, 2019
Starlink Aims to Provide Cutting-Edge Worldwide Internet Access
Almost everyone has heard by now that Elon Musk wants to launch well over 40,000 new satellites into space to deliver high-speed and low-latency internet t...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Do Nebulae Actually Look This Impressive?
Astronomers often turn to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope when they fancy observing any of the plethora of distant nebulae in outer space. Nebulae are...
DEC 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 23, 2019
Why NASA's Artemis Mission is So Important
If you’ve been following NASA, then you’ve undoubtedly heard about the American space agency’s Artemis mission. Artemis is all about laun...
JAN 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 19, 2020
A Brief Summary of Everything We Know About Pluto
Pluto was once considered one of the solar system’s planets but was later downgraded to the status of ‘dwarf’ planet after several more s...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
NASA Officially Retires the Spitzer Space Telescope
NASA is always sending spacecraft into space to explore the universe around us; be it the close-proximity stellar neighborhood of our own solar system or o...
FEB 04, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 04, 2020
What Are NASA's 'Great Observatories?'
NASA recently retired its Spitzer Space Telescope, one of four specialized space-based observatories that together made up the American Space Agency’...
Loading Comments...