NASA Hubble Captured These Gorgeously Violent Storm Images On Jupiter

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured images of Jupiter, which show off the giant planet’s cyclones, wind shear, and violent storms churning in its atmosphere. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer solar system planets each year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy Program (OPAL), in order to document the planets’ kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.

While Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, large enough to engulf Earth, is the most prominent storm seen in the planet’s atmosphere, there are many others that NASA wants to learn more about. One such feature, nicknamed Red Spot Jr. and seen to the lower right of its larger sibling, is an anticyclone that resulted from storms merging in 1998 and 2000. This massive storm first appeared red in 2006, before turning to a pale beige in years following. However, this year Jr. appears somewhat redder again in Hubble’s latest images of the planet.

Violent storm activity can also be viewed when peering upon the opposite side of Jupiter (image of Jupiter on the right above). At the right of center, a pair of storms, a deep red cyclone and a reddish anticyclone, appear next to one another at the right of center. The pair of storms are rotating in opposite directions, which indicates an alternating patter of high, and low, pressure systems, according to NASA.

“The many large storms and small white clouds are a hallmark of a lot of activity going on in Jupiter’s atmosphere right now,” explained OPAL project lead Amy Simon.

Also seen in the image on the right is Jupiter’s innermost Galilean moon, Io. According to NASA, Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Hubble’s sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths allows the telescope to clearly resolve interesting surface features. NASA says Hubble picks up where Voyager left off by keeping track of the volatile moon yearly.

While NASA’s Webb telescope may garner the most attention these days, Hubble continues to prove its worth. Its latest images of Jupiter, along with its ability to make ground-breaking discoveries, help scientists and astronomers continually shape the understanding of the universe.