Humanity will be getting up close and personal with the Great Red Spot on Jupiter as NASA’s Juno spacecraft will be conducting a flyby on June 10. This will be taking place less than a week after the craft celebrates its first anniversary since reaching the planet’s orbit.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the Planet’s Iconic Feature to be Better Known
The “Great Red Spot” on Jupiter is a 10,000-miles wide storm, one that has been monitored and is still raging since the 1830’s. Research estimates consider that this formation might be over 350 years old. Also, this storm’s span is some 3 and a half times the size of Earth.
The Great Red Spot already is iconic for Jupiter, and also one of its most studied features. However, researchers consider that there is still much to learn about this phenomenon. July 10th will be offering just that chance.
On this date, Juno will be performing its sixth flyby over Jupiter. It will also come with the perijove, which marks the moment in which the orbit comes closest to the planet’s center. This was approximated to take place on July 10 at 9:55 p.m. EDT or 6:55 p.m. PDT.
At the time of the perijove, the Juno spacecraft will be about 2,200 miles above the planet’s cloud tops. It will also be the closest it has been, until now, to the raging storm in the Red Spot.
“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,” stated Scott Bolton.
He is the principal investigator of the Juno mission at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
June 04 will also be another important date in Juno’s calendar. It will mark the anniversary of its having been exactly a year in Jupiter’s orbit. By this date, the craft will have logged about 71 million miles in orbit around the gas giant.
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