back to article Juno beams back first closeups of Jupiter's unsightly red acne

NASA has released the first closeup images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the massive storm system that has been swirling on its surface for over 180 years. On July 10, the Juno space probe swooped within 5,600 miles (9,010 kilometers) of Jupiter’s surface, directly over the storm system. Now the pictures are back and the space …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So a guy in the 1600s sees what he thinks is a big red spot on Jupiter, which we later found has a big red spot on it, and we now believe he was mistaken why exactly? If he had claimed to see two of them, or a green spot, I could see it, but that's a fairly specific observation...

    Especially if it has shrunk in the past 100 years, who knows how big it could have been 350 years ago?

    1. Munkeh

      Re: Mistaken?

      That's a fair point but in this case it's mostly whether or not he saw what was subsequently reported.

      It seems reports of his discovery are actually second hand, complete with transcription errors missing out words such as 'small' and no mention of colour.

      It's possible he was really looking at the shadow of one of the Jovian moons traversing across the planet.

      See for info.

      1. EddieD

        Re: Mistaken?

        One of the other problems, Hooke was generally disliked back in his day, his disagreements with Newton are well documented, and since then a lot of his notes and papers have just vanished. No portraits exist of him either, which for such a prominent person is pretty unusual.

        Many astronomical observations from those days have been refined - Galileo originally recorded Saturn's rings as a pair of moons.

        I'd like to see Hooke's reputation thoroughly restored - curmudgeonly aspects aside, his work demands respect. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

        1. Gio Ciampa

          Re: Mistaken?

          When you say 'disliked' - was that because Newton was effectively untouchable at the time (just ask Leibniz) and society chose sides accordingly?

          1. Faux Science Slayer

            "Never At Rest" by Richard Westfall

            There never was any proof Leibniz ever made the empirical measurements necessary to

            create Calculus.... but ample evidence of him lurking about London and 'reviewing' the

            unpublished manuscript of "Principia Mathematica"..... Leibniz 'notations' for integrals and

            differentials was adopted over Newton's, giving credibility to his claims.

            1. chosenZero

              Re: "Never At Rest" by Richard Westfall

              What "empirical measurements" are necessary to create pure mathematics, pray tell?

        2. Faux Science Slayer

          "The Curious Life of Robert Hooke" by Lisa Jardine

          Subtitled "the man who measured London" on his work surveying London following the great fire.

          Newton was a genius, despised by many as arrogant and egotistical. Newton refused to

          recognize those who provided input including Roger Cotes and John Flamsteed.

          Hooke was a genius, tarnished by Sir Isacc, see "Never at Rest" by Richard Westfall.

      2. GrapeBunch

        Re: Mistaken?

        Sounds a bit like Percival Lowell spotting "canals" on Mars, this not being found by subsequent telescopic observers, and yet there are canal-like natural features on Mars. Perhaps he saw them under particularly auspicious angles of sunlight. If the current observations don't match the canal maps he made, then he was talking Baltimores. But if they do, he was (observationally) effing brilliant. I wonder if an observer of Earth, when the sun was shining bright on Sydney, could see the shadow of the Andes as a kind of canal.

        Another one is Immanuel Velikovsky's prediction that Venus would be found to rotate in a retrograde manner. Again, that turned out to be true, and surprising. Doesn't mean we have to accept Velikovsky's far out theory as to how that came about. But hey, maybe a tiny quantum of sci street cred.

        I'm posting this because I'm not convinced that the downvote mechanism is working properly at El Reg. Discovery awaits.

        As to the red spot itself, both images we've seen look stonily like Artist Concepts. If "I could have done that", then some artist probably has, retrospectively saving NASA many meeellion$. <joke icon/> In the second image, I get the feeling that the top of the red is lower in the Jovian atmosphere than the top of the surrounding white clouds. That should be testable, by more than one means but certainly by bouncing signals and seeing how long they take to come back. In which case an alternative explanation could be "red spots, meh, they aren't unusual; what is unique is that the cloud cover above it has dispersed".

        See how thoroughly I want to test downvoteology? You know you want it.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge


      Any sign of a hard-drinking blonde woman in a MK1 Viper flying dangerously close to this storm?

  2. Clive Harris

    Where's the monolith?

    Can you see the black rectangular monolith, with sides in the ratio of 1:4:9, right in the centre of the Red Spot?

    1. 's water music

      Re: Where's the monolith?

      well it's black and full of stars so it isn't going to leap out from the background is it. Those trippy, multi-coloured graphics were always going to make much better desktop wallpaper.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where's the monolith?

      Maybe it will only appear when a human goes there.

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge


    It has shrunk considerably over the past century and by 2040 is predicted to move from an oval to a circular storm

    Bloody Jovians, blasting methane into the atmosphere like there's no tomorrow. They were told it would change the climate, but did they listen?

  4. SkippyBing

    'The images come from JunoCam, capable of 15 km/pixel resolution on this type of orbit.'

    So we're still not sure it isn't made up of millions of fire trucks driving in a circle?

    1. Florida1920

      Re: 'The images come from JunoCam, capable of 15 km/pixel resolution on this type of orbit.'


      The spot is obviously salsa.

  5. Les Matthew

    Red spot storm

    After viewing all the images the whole planet looks like one huge storm.

    I rarely if ever use the word "awesome" but it is fitting here I think.

  6. Daedalus

    It was first seen by...

    ...Lady Macbeth. Out out!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    ...anything showing a large black monolith will presumably be held back for a bit...

    Or the 100,000km wide teenagers face.

  8. Axman

    Citizen Scientists and their colouring books

    I've read elsewhere that the released photos have been 'colourised' by 'citizen scientists'. Having also seen one of the untouched-up photos on the BBC website I'd prefer it if NASA just released the bare images.

    1. cray74

      Re: Citizen Scientists and their colouring books

      NASA did release the bare images:

  9. kryptonaut


    “For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorizing about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

    But did he say it in the Carl Sagan voice that I heard in my head when I read that paragraph?

    1. ZippedyDooDah

      Re: Voices

      I "heard" it as Richard Burton.

    2. Tikimon
      IT Angle

      Re: Voices

      I heard it read by Emily Lakdawalla. Yez, I iz a space geeeeeek...

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