Sunday, March 04, 2007

And this is the little Red Spot! New Horizons image.

This is a mosaic of three New Horizons images of Jupiter's Little Red Spot, taken with the spacecraft's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera at 17:41 Universal Time on February 26 from a range of 3.5 million kilometers (2.1 million miles). The image scale is 17 kilometers (11 miles) per pixel, and the area covered measures 33,000 kilometers (20,000 miles) from top to bottom, two and one-half times the diameter of Earth.
The Little Red Spot, a smaller cousin of the famous Great Red Spot, formed in the past decade from the merger of three smaller Jovian storms, and is now the second-largest storm on Jupiter. About a year ago its color, formerly white, changed to a reddish shade similar to the Great Red Spot, perhaps because it is now powerful enough to dredge up reddish material from deeper inside Jupiter. These are the most detailed images ever taken of the Little Red Spot since its formation, and will be combined with even sharper images taken by New Horizons 10 hours later to map circulation patterns around and within the storm.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute