NASA’s Juno probe continues to beam back stunning pictures of Jupiter and its turbulent atmosphere. One of the latest shows the Great Red Spot in an image captured 21 December during the spacecraft’s most recent close approach. The photo also shows another large storm, dubbed Oval BA, that reached its current size when three smaller storms collided and merged together in 2000. Oval BA has changed shape over the years and changed from reddish brown to a more uniform white, according to NASA. This colour view is made up of three images captured when Juno was between about 23,800 miles to 34,500 miles above Jupiter’s cloud tops. The image was processed by citizen-scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.
Concerns about the health of the Juno spacecraft’s main engine have compelled NASA managers to keep the research probe in its current arcing, high-altitude orbit around Jupiter, a decision that will delay the full science return from the $1.1 billion mission but should still allow it to meet all predetermined objectives.
With the opposition of Jupiter occurring on 9 May, now is the time to ensure that your telescope is clean and collimated (aligned) to deliver the sharpest images of the solar system’s largest planet at its best. We tell you when and how to view Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and a wealth of Galilean moon phenomena throughout May 2018.