Monster Storm Churns Near Jupiter's North Pole (Photo)

Juno Sees Massive Jupiter 'Anticyclone'
Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this image of a massive Jupiter storm known as NN-LRS-1 using data captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on July 10, 2017. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran)

A giant cyclone swirls near the north pole of Jupiter in a gorgeous new photo by NASA's Juno spacecraft.

"This storm is a long-lived anticyclonic oval named North North Temperate Little Red Spot 1 (NN-LRS-1); it has been tracked at least since 1993, and may be older still," NASA officials wrote in an image description. (Yes, the double "North" is correct.) "An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon where winds around the storm flow in the direction opposite to that of the flow around a region of low pressure."

NN-LRS-1 is Jupiter's third-largest anticyclonic oval and is usually about 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) wide, NASA officials added. (The gas giant's biggest storm, the famous Great Red Spot, is currently about 10,000 miles, or 16,000 km, wide, though it's been shrinking over the years.) [In Photos: The Most Powerful Storms in the Solar System]

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created the image using raw data captured by Juno's JunoCam imager on July 10, during the spacecraft's seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was 7,111 miles (11,444 km) above the planet's cloud tops, at 44.5 degrees north latitude, NASA officials wrote.

Anyone who wishes to do so can process JunoCam data into new imagery. To learn more, go to

The $1.1 billion Juno mission launched in August 2011 and arrived in orbit around Jupiter in July 2016. The spacecraft is studying Jupiter's composition and interior structure, gathering data that should help scientists better understand how planets and solar systems come together, mission team members have said.

Juno collects most of its data during close flybys like the July 10 encounter, which zoomed directly over the Great Red Spot. The probe cruises around Jupiter in a long and highly elliptical orbit, so such flybys occur every 53.5 days. The next one will take place on Friday (Sept. 1).

If all goes according to plan, Juno will continue studying Jupiter from orbit through at least February 2018.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.