Stunning new Jupiter portrait reveals turbulent storms and Great Red Spot

Stunning new Jupiter portrait reveals turbulent storms and Great Red Spot

Each year, the Hubble Space Telescope spends some time looking at the outer planets of our solar system. On June 27th the spacecraft did just that and the resulting image (and animation) might be one of its finest ever. The image features Jupiter's most distinctive feature, the Great Red Spot, and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in the giant planet's turbulent atmosphere than seen in previous years. Lighter-colored bands represent high-altitude ammonia ice clouds, while darker bands travel a shallower path relative to the gas giant's core. These bands consist of air flowing in opposite directions at various latitudes. Astronomers believe that the storm may actually completely die within our lifetime, fizzling out within a few decades. Numerous exoplanets astronomers have found are gas giants as well and some of them are much closer to their star than Jupiter is from our Sun. Two cloud bands, which are located above and below the Great Red Spot, are moving in opposite directions. The reason for this is still unknown so Hubble will continue to observe Jupiter in the hope that scientists will be able to solve this stormy riddle.

Vivid colors and swirling clouds are highlighted in the new Jupiter image, as well as a closeup look at its atmosphere.

"The white clouds to the left (southwest) of the storm are moving eastward to the south of the spot".

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of global cooperation between ESA and NASA.

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Among the unanswered questions is Jupiter's great red spot, perhaps the best known "landmark" on the planet's highly volatile surface atmosphere.

Hubble participates in the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy program, and these images of the outer planets help scientists study the giant planets and their atmospheres. But the most well-known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot - the largest known storm in the solar system.

One of the most unforgettable features of Hubble's image are the vibrant clouds moving toward the Great Red Spot, a storm that is rotating counterclockwise between two bands of clouds.

The bands of colours are all separated by jet winds that reach speeds of 400mph (644kph).

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