Hubble Space Telescope Takes Detailed Portrait of Jupiter

"The goal is to fill in gaps in the archive of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune images because, some years, there were no successful proposals to use Hubble to observe individual planets", Wong said.

The Hubble Space Telescope obtained this global map of Jupiter by taking photos every orbit for almost 10 hours, the time it takes the planet to rotate once.

The newest photo in that yearbook is a portrait of Jupiter taken June 27 that reveals clouds swirling in the planet's turbulent atmosphere that are painted with a color palette more intense than seen in previous years. And luckily, Jupiter has an interplanetary visitor - NASA's Juno spacecraft - scanning the planet's clouds to gather more information.

The most prominent feature displayed in the new portrait is the Great Red Spot (GRS) - an enormous storm that has been churning across the surface of the Jovian planet for at least the past 150 years. While the spot - an ancient, gargantuan storm - can alone still swallow up to three Earth-sized planets, since the 1800s scientists and stargazers have watched the spot shrink in size; nobody is quite sure why. On Thursday, NASA shared the new Jupiter image, which was taken June 27. It's a massive, mysterious storm that's been raging for hundreds of years. "The colorful bands, which flow in opposite directions at various latitudes, result from different atmospheric pressures".

Jupiter's bands, which are developed by differences in thickness and height of ammonia ice clouds, are confined to the north and south by jet streams that don't change, even if the bands start to vary in color. Bands cover much of the planet, but they tend to stay in place, even while changing color, due to jet streams constantly screaming through Jupiter's atmosphere at up to 400 miles per hour (644 km/h). The planet's Great Red Spot stands out.

Below the Great Red Spot is a shape similar to a worm, but it's really a cyclone spinning in the opposite direction of the storm above it. "The two white, oval-shaped features are anticyclones, like small versions of the Great Red Spot", STScI officials said.

The bands of colours are all separated by jet winds that reach speeds of 400mph (644kph).