Earlier today, NASA released the first raw images of the flyby. Talented users have processed hundreds of Juno's pictures to bring out features like storms, swirls, and clouds in the planet's atmosphere. NASA's official Tumblr shows off previously submitted images from the public and explains how people can personalize the newly shared images. It has shrunk considerably over the past century and by 2040 is predicted to move from an oval to a circular storm - still a massive feature of the planet.
"Right now, anyone that is processing them, they're just doing a real quick pass, I hammered them out real quick and then went back to work", Gill said. The spacecraft in question is Juno, and it's set to hover directly over the spot after 10 p.m. ET this Monday.
This illustration depicts NASA's Juno spacecraft soaring over Jupiter's south pole. On Earth, the most powerful hurricanes recorded were a mere 1,000 miles wide compared to the 10,000-mile-wide Great Red Spot. "We'll see when we see it". What we do know though is that surrounding its core is an ocean of liquid hydrogen. This was humanity's first up-close and personal view of the enormous feature. From there, it will take even longer until researchers are able to sift through the raw material and make sense of what Juno has seen.
Juno, which was launched in 2011, began orbiting Jupiter past year, and its next flyby of the planet is set for early September of 2017.
Juno's visit comes at an opportune time. That will stretch out the time needed to complete the mission's planned observations, but it has no impact on the quality of the data.
It's unknown if the storm's baffling behavior will be cleared up, along with colliding systems around Jupiter's south polar region and elsewhere. And that's not the case.
"Juno's equipped to see below the cloud tops", he said. "We just see this thin veneer, which is gorgeous - it has these attractive zones and belts, and this great storm on it, and a bunch of cyclones - but the key is what's underneath".
According to Leigh Fletcher, the planetary expert from the University of Leicester, the Great Red Spot might have elongated from the horizon to the horizon.
Take a look at a few of the earliest submissions.
We may finally begin to get some answers about this spot.
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