It’s been more than a year since NASA’s Juno spacecraft and Jupiter first met eyes, but despite that length of time, there’s still a lot that Juno needs to see and learn about the planet.
Tomorrow morning, Juno will cross one of those sightseeing opportunities of its list with a fly over of Jupiter’s main attraction: the Great Red Spot.
This spot is one one of the most recognisable features of the planet, as a giant storm that is twice as wide as Earth and has been brewing over the planet for hundreds of years now, but tomorrow, we will get our closest look at the planet still, with a lot of mystery yet to solve.
One of the main things that it will be looking to solve is how the Great Red Spot actually works.
Some people think that it is a result because of something called a vertical flow, which transports gas from above and below the storm and into the Great Red Spot’s center, which results in it constantly replenishing the energy needed and keeping the gases spinning around, however, that is still a theory that they will hopefully solve tomorrow.
It has taken this long for Juno to get to spotting that Great Red Spot due to its orbit around the planet, which takes 53 days to complete and thus the travel time was great lengthy.
The spacecraft will make its closest approach towards to spot at 9:55 PM ET later today / 2:55 AM BST tomorrow, at which point it will be 2,200 miles above the planet’s surface, shortly after that, the spacecraft will move over the spot and will pass within 5,600 miles of the storm’s surface.
We should see a lot of information from this manoeuvre, including a number of fantastic images from Juno’s main camera, JunoCam, so be ready to see all of that later this week.