May 1, 2007
—NASA scientists unveiled the most detailed picture yet of Jupiter's burgeoning Little Red Spot.
The color image (top) was taken by the New Horizons spacecraft as it passed by Jupiter on its way to Pluto in February.
Astronomers first detected the Little Red Spot, originally dubbed Red, Jr., nearly two years ago, when a large white storm began to turn red (See "Photo in the News: Jupiter Spawns a New Red Spot" [March 7, 2006]).
The swirling vortex, which is about 70 percent as wide as Earth and half the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot storm, formed when three smaller storms merged over the past ten years, researchers added.
New Horizons project scientist Hal Weaver described the latest image in a press statement as "our best look ever of a storm like this in its infancy."
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Images courtesy NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, graphic by Katie Parker/NGS