Jupiter’s ‘Great Red Spot’ has been pictured in a dramatic new image.
The mega-storm has been going for several centuries and is much larger than the Earth.
Also visible in the photo are the ‘String of Pearls’, a series of three smaller storms in the southern hemisphere of the planet.
The so-called ‘Great Red Spot’ is a violent storm, which in the late 1800s was estimated to be about 25,000 miles (about 40,000 km) in diameter – wide enough for three Earths to fit side by side.
The biggest in the solar system, it appears as a deep red orb surrounded by layers of pale yellow, orange and white.
Winds inside the storm have been measured at several hundreds of miles per hour, NASA astronomers said.
But while the image could pass for a photograph, it was actually created by citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko.
He processed raw data from the JunoCam instrument on the June spacecraft, which is orbiting the planet, to make the picture.
The publicly available data – which can be found here – was collected by Juno as it made its third close flyby of Jupiter.
However, the craft was still 285,100 miles from the planet when the data was collected – giving some idea of the scale of Jupiter. The closest Juno can get to its target is 3,100 miles.
The planet, fifth from the Sun and the largest in the solar system, has the volume of 1,321 Earths and its radius is equivalent to more than 11,000 Earths.
The Great Red Spot, a symptom of Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere, is around 25,000 miles wide.
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