Great Red Spot

Photojournal: PIA02821

October 23, 2000

This true color image of Jupiter, taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is composed of three images taken in the blue, green and red regions of the spectrum. All images were taken from a distance of 77.6 million kilometers (48.2 million miles) on Oct. 8, 2000.

 


Different chemical compositions of the cloud particles lead to different
colors. The cloud patterns reflect different physical conditions --
updrafts and downdrafts -- in which the clouds form. The bluish areas are
believed to be regions devoid of clouds and covered by high haze.

 


The Great Red Spot (below and to the right of center) is a giant
atmospheric storm as wide as two Earths and over 300 years old, with
peripheral winds of 483 kilometers per hour (300 miles per hour). This
image shows that it is trailed to the north by a turbulent region, caused
by atmospheric flow around the spot.

 


The bright white spots in this region are lightning storms, which were
seen by NASA's Galileo spacecraft when it photographed the night side of
Jupiter. Cassini will track these lightning storms and measure their
lifetimes and motions when it passes Jupiter in late December and looks
back on the dark side of the planet. Cassini is currently en route to its
ultimate destination, Saturn.

 


The resolution is 466 kilometers (290 miles) per picture element.

 


Cassini is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and
the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the
Cassini mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

 


Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

ENLARGE