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Here Are The Close-Up Images Of Jupiter's Great Red Spot Thanks To JunoCam And Citizen Scientists

16 July 2017, 6:21 am EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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The photograph is one of the raw images sent back by JunoCam Imager. Citizen scientists were quick to get to work on enhancing JunoCam's raw photos.   ( NASA / SwRI / MSSS )

Juno managed yet again to send back incredible images of Jupiter, and this time, they are close-up images of the planet's most iconic feature which is the Great Red Spot. Citizen scientists quickly went into action to take JunoCam's raw images and processed them for enhanced detail and color.

Latest Flyby

On Monday, July 10, the Juno spacecraft's flyby gave the JunoCam Imager an opportunity to take photos of Jupiter's Great Red Spot as it passed 6,130 miles (9,866 kilometers) directly above the red cloud tops. They images were downlinked from the spacecraft's memory on Tuesday and were already available on JunoCam's website by Wednesday morning.

JunoCam captured photos of the Great Red Spot during the mission's latest flyby.
(Photo : NASA / SwRI / MSSS) JunoCam captured photos of the Great Red Spot during the mission's latest flyby.

The photos are the closest ever photographs of Jupiter's giant storm, which showcased dark clouds swirling within the red oval. This delighted Juno's investigators as the opportunity to thoroughly study the Great Red Spot lies not just in the photographs, but also in the data that they gathered from Juno's eight other instruments on board.

The Great Red Spot is shown in full in this photo taken by the JunoCam Imager
(Photo : NASA / SwRI / MSSS) The Great Red Spot is shown in full in this photo taken by the JunoCam Imager

Citizen Scientists

Just as the Juno team expected and wanted, citizen scientists immediately jumped into action by taking the raw images posted on JunoCam's website and processing them to show enhanced color and detail compared to their unprocessed forms.

Naturally, what turned up is a set of incredibly striking photos that show the Great Red Spot in all its glory.

This enhanced photo was sent in by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt) This enhanced photo was sent in by citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt
This photo was enhanced and submitted by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran
(Photo : NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran) This photo was enhanced and submitted by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran

"It is always exciting to see these new raw images of Jupiter as they arrive. But it is even more thrilling to take the raw images and turn them into something that people can appreciate," said Jason Major, a citizen scientist from Warwick Rhode Island.

 

This enhances photo was sent in by citizen scientist and graphic designer Jason Major
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major) This enhances photo was sent in by citizen scientist and graphic designer Jason Major

 

Everyone is invited to take part in the process by downloading the images and enhancing them in creative ways.

The Great Red Spot And The Juno Mission

As of April 3, the Great Red Spot measures 1.3 times the size of Earth at 10,159 miles (16,350 kilometers) in width. Scientists have been monitoring the great storm since 1830 and it has been observed to have shrunk in recent years.

Although people have already seen a large spot on Jupiter through their telescopes as early as the 1600's, it is unclear whether what they were seeing was the Great Red Spot or another spot in Jupiter altogether.

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