Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and one of the most fascinating. Now, new photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope have given us one of our best looks ever at the gas giant.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured these new high-resolution photos of Jupiter and they are absolutely beautiful. Let’s take a look at some of these brand new shots:
This first shot has given researchers an even better look at the turbulent weather patterns on Jupiter’s surface. The infamous Great Red Spot has never been clearer. The enormous storm is now 15,800 kilometers (roughly over 9,800 miles) and could swallow the entire Earth. There is also another storm that you can see in the northern part of the picture. It appears as a bright, white, stretched-out plume. That plume erupted on August 18 earlier this year. That storm is moving at a speed of 560 kilometres per hour (almost 350 miles per hour).
Trailing behind this new plume are small, counterclockwise dark clumps that are also new to observers. The speculation from researchers is that this may be the beginning of a longer-lasting northern hemisphere spot. If so, it is possible that Jupiter could become home to an even larger storm system that could rival the Great Red Spot.
Another new shot of Jupiter that was filmed through ultraviolet/visible/near-infrared light has offered an even more illuminating look at the biggest planet in our solar system. This panchromatic look offers astronomers a glimpse into the altitude and distribution of the particles and haze in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
In the above photo, the parts of Jupiter’s atmosphere that are at higher altitudes appear in red as a result of atmospheric particles absorbing ultraviolet light. You can best see this effect on the planet’s north and south poles. On the opposite end of things, the blue-hued areas are representative of the ultraviolet light being reflected off the planet. You can also get an even more vibrant picture of the Great Red Spot and the smaller storm system directly below it. That storm is lovingly referred to as Red Spot Jr.
We recently reported on some other pictures that NASA posted showcasing incredible parts of our galaxy. Between that, these new photos of Jupiter and the recent news about possible life on Venus, it has been an incredible year for space exploration. no matter what is happening on Earth, the stars and planets continue spinning and existing without our interference.
Let’s be honest: 2020 will go down as one of the absolute worst years in the history of modern civilization. It has been a cavalcade of awfulness and every day seems to bring more horrendous news. These photos of Jupiter probably don’t rank very high for a lot of folks in comparison to everything else going on in the world, but it does act as a reminder about how beautiful our universe is. For everything that has happened in 2020, it is momentarily refreshing to just look at some resplendent photos from space.