NASA: Hubble Captures Stunning Images Of Jupiter, Europa

 - Sakshi Post

Another spectacular view of the giant planet, the Great Red Spot, and a new storm boiling up in the mid-northern latitudes were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope on Jupiter on August 25th. The frozen moon Europa is seen to the left. As it plows into the clouds ahead, the GRS, measuring about 15,700 kilometres (9,800 miles) across and rotating counterclockwise, shows a particularly red hue.

Just below its famous counterpart, another storm, called Oval BA and nicknamed Red Spot Jr., is noticeable, appearing to darken slightly and indicating a potential return to a more reddish hue. As part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy programme, OPAL, Hubble captured the new image, which keeps tabs on changes in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Although it is common for storms to occur in this area every six years or so, often with several storms at once, the timing of the Hubble observations is ideal during the early stages of their evolution to demonstrate the structure in the wake of the disturbance.

Usually on Jupiter, such separate characteristics dissipate, leaving behind only changes in cloud colours and wind speeds, however a similar storm on Saturn resulted in a long-lasting vortex.

Researchers claim the Great Red Spot now measures about 9,800 miles, wide enough to swallow Earth. As noted in telescopic observations dating back to 1930, the super-storm is still shrinking, but the explanation for its dwindling scale is a complete mystery.

The Hubble image shows that Jupiter is clearing white clouds from its higher altitude, especially along the equator of the planet, where an orange hydrocarbon smog wraps around it.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) International Cooperation Project. The telescope is being operated by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The Baltimore Space Telescope Research Institute (STScl) performs Hubble scientific operations. For NASA, STScl is run by the Association of Universities for Astronomy Study in Washington , D.C.

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