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.
Observers in the UK with clear skies around 1am BST on Tuesday, 21 May can see Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, just 4 degrees from the waning gibbous Moon low in the south-southeast. At this time both the Moon and Jupiter fit within the same field of view of binoculars magnifying less than 10×, while telescope users can also view Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
Observers in Western Europe with a clear sky around local midnight cannot fail to notice the conspicuous ‘star’ that is Jupiter low in the south. But look a span-and-a-half of an outstretched hand at arm’s length to Jupiter’s left and you’ll find another giant of the solar system – Saturn. The ringed planet is closest to Earth for 2019 on 9 July, so here is our quick observing guide.