It might not sport the photogenic rings of Saturn, but the striped clouds of Jupiter are gorgeous. NASA and ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured a beautiful new image of the solar system’s biggest planet.
The image was taken on August 25 and just shared, but it’s already giving researchers a fresh look at the weather on the planet. That includes the larger-the-Earth storm that is the Great Red Spot. You can also see a new storm that NASA calls “a cousin” to the Great Red Spot.
Additionally, in the upper left of the image, you can spot the moon Europa, the smallest of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons. Recent research has upped the estimate of total moons for Jupiter, putting the number at as many as 600. Europa is high on the list of places that might have some form of life inside our solar system. (Last week, Venus also climbed into that conversation.)
NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M. H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL team
The announcement calls the new storm “unique and exciting.” It “appears at mid-northern latitudes as a bright, white, stretched-out storm” moving at more than 340 miles per hour. Storms in this region aren’t atypical, according to NASA, but this one “appears to have more structure.” The researchers say that this could be the start of a long-duration storm in the planet’s northern hemisphere, “perhaps to rival the legendary Great Red Spot that dominates the southern hemisphere.”
The image also provides a good look at the Oval BA, which has been nicknamed Red Spot Jr. It’s the storm sitting just below the Great Red Spot.
The second image comes in surprising colors because Hubble snapped the multiwavelength image in ultraviolet/visible/near-infrared light. The image, according to NASA, ” offers insights into the altitude and distribution of the planet’s haze and particles.”
It’s a gorgeous image. But, as always, there’s a more than beauty to the images Hubble is sending back for us to admire.