On 25 August, the Hubble Space Telescope checked in on Jupiter, capturing another stunning view of the giant planet, the Great Red Spot and a new storm boiling up in the mid-northern latitudes. The frozen moon Europa is visible at left. The GRS, measuring about 15,700 kilometres (9,800 miles) across and rotating counterclockwise, displays an especially red colour as it plows into the clouds ahead. Another storm, dubbed Oval BA and nicknamed Red Spot Jr., is visible just below its famous counterpart, appearing to darken slightly and suggesting a possible return to a more reddish hue. Hubble captured the new image as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy program – OPAL – which keeps tabs on changes in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Jupiter is now less than a month from opposition (7 April), so it’s very much open season for the Solar System’s largest planet. If you’re unsure where to find it, the rising 17-day-old waning gibbous Moon passes just two degrees from Jupiter on the UK evening of 14 March. Virgo’s brightest star, first-magnitude Spica, makes it a great binocular triumvirate.