Cool new Hubble portrait of Jupiter’s storms
The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of Jupiter on August 25, 2020, from a distance of 406 million miles (650 million km) from Earth. That wasn’t when Jupiter was closest to us this year. It was closest on July 15, a couple of days after Earth swept between Jupiter and the sun, as we do once each year. Still, in August, Jupiter and Earth were relatively close, in part accounting for the clarity of this image, which shows Jupter’s icy moon Europa (6th-closest of the planet’s 79 known moons) as well as some famous storms in Jupiter’s dense atmosphere.
There are lots of cool things to notice in this image.
First, notice Europa to the left of the planet. It’s the smallest of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, and is thought to have an ocean beneath its icy surface, possibly holding the ingredients for life.
Now, look at the planet itself. You probably know that the bands we see aren’t on the planet’s surface; instead, when we look at Jupiter, we’re seeing only the uppermost layers of its clouds. The image shows the Great Red Spot, a great storm greater in diameter than our entire Earth, rolling counterclockwise in the atmosphere above Jupiter’s southern hemisphere. NASA said the Red Spot plows into the clouds ahead of it:
… forming a cascade of white and beige ribbons. The Great Red Spot is currently an exceptionally rich red color, with its core and outermost band appearing deeper red ...
More on: earthsky.org