There was something incredible near Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

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This is not just another sublime image of the largest storm in the solar system, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
That’s not a speck of dust on NASA’s Juno spacecraft camera.
Two images of Jupiter taken by the spacecraft Juno in March reveal tiny Jovian moon Amalthea as it passes by.
Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt During its primary mission, the spacecraft collected data on the gas giant’s atmosphere and interior.
After completing 35 orbits, the spacecraft transitioned to studying the entire system around Jupiter, including its rings and moons.
The spacecraft is not at risk of crashing into and possibly contaminating Jupiter’s moons, some of which may be habitable worlds.
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft took images of Amalthea, center, in January 2000, revealing a world of craters, hills, and valleys.
Credit: NASA / JPL / Cornell University Amalthea, just one of Jupiter’s 95 official moons, was first discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard in 1892.


This isn’t just another breathtaking photo of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the biggest storm in the solar system.

Peer a little bit closer.

It will take more effort than that, so let’s get serious. Step inside.

This is not a dust particle on NASA’s Juno spacecraft camera, can you see it now? There is a moon in space, circling its massive mother planet.

The minuscule moon Amalthea is actually the reddest object in the solar system, according to astronomers, despite being photographed darting in front of the ruddy eye of Jupiter’s extended high pressure zone. Scientists believe that sulfur from the nearby Jovian moon Io, a planet with active volcanoes, is what gives it its color.

During the spacecraft’s 59th close flyby of Jupiter in March, the pictures that were made public this week were captured as it swooped roughly 165,000 miles above the planet’s clouds. To improve the clarity of the images, citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed the raw camera data from the probe.

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JunoCam is an instrument on board Juno that was intended to engage the public in addition to providing excellent up-close images of Jupiter. The scientific team lets the public to analyze the photos taken by the camera and asks them what they would like to see next.

Jupiter has been in Juno’s orbit for more than seven years. The spacecraft is investigating Jupiter’s formation and evolution, searching for its core, measuring the amount of water and ammonia in its atmosphere, mapping its magnetic field, keeping an eye out for auroras, and focusing on Jupiter’s moons and dust rings.

The tiny Jupiterian moon Amalthea can be seen passing by in two photographs of Jupiter captured in March by the spacecraft Juno. Thank you to Gerald Eichstädt, NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, and MSSS.

The spacecraft’s primary mission involved gathering data on the interior and atmosphere of the gas giant. Finding that the planet’s atmospheric weather layer extends far beyond its water clouds is one of its discoveries.

The spacecraft changed its focus to studying Jupiter’s moons and rings after completing 35 orbits. Either another year or until the spacecraft breaks down, the extended mission will continue. As its trajectory erodes, Juno will eventually burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere. It is not possible for the spacecraft to collide with Jupiter’s moons, some of which might be habitable worlds, and thus contaminate them.

Amalthea, center, was photographed by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in January 2000, and the images showed a world filled with craters, hills, and valleys. NASA/JPL/Cornell University are all given credit.

Discovered in 1892 by Edward Emerson Barnard, Amalthea is just one of Jupiter’s official 95 moons. Because it lacks the mass to form into a more symmetrical sphere, it is roughly 100 miles wide and awkwardly shaped like a potato. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft allowed scientists to get a close-up look at this small moon nearly 25 years ago, and what they saw was a crater-filled, hilly, and valley-filled world.

The three other strangely shaped mini moons, Metis, Adrastea, and Thebe, are all within the orbit of Jupiter’s closest large moon, Io, which also includes Amalthea. It only takes Amalthea half a day on Earth to complete a full orbit of Jupiter because of how close it is.

The solar system’s moon is a strange little object. Researchers have found that it emits more heat than it receives from the sun; this could be because of tidal stresses brought on by the planet’s gravity or because Jupiter’s magnetic field stimulates electric currents within its core.

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Beautiful scene from the highly volcanic planet Io is shown in a NASA video.

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