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NASA spacecraft to fly over ‘Eye of Jupiter’ for first time in history

  • Juno to come within 2,200 miles of Jupiter's surface
  • "Great Red Spot" believed to be a centuries old storm
  • Juno in Jupiter's orbit for more than a year

NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter's Great Red Spot later today, offering the first ever 'close up' of the 10,000 mile-wide storm.

The gaseous red spot has been monitored by humans since 1830 according to NASA and is thought to have raged for as much as 350 years.

"This monumental storm has raged on the solar system's biggest planet for centuries.

This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter.
Source: NASA
This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno spacecraft making one of its close passes over Jupiter.

Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio in a press release.

The point at which Juno will be closest to Jupiter's center occurs at 9:55 p.m. ET when the spacecraft will pass 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops.

NASA has calculated that 11 minutes later Juno will be directly above Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Juno has logged just over one year in Jupiter's orbit, traveling around 71 million miles around the planet.

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