One of the first things that I do every morning is scan my email inbox for the NASA Image of the Day.
The space agency sends out one incredible space photo each day from the past 50 years of its existence. Sometimes it’s of a faraway galaxy, or one of Earth’s neighboring planets. I never know what to expect, but the photos never cease to amaze me.
I thought today’s was particularly interesting. So here it is:
I know, I know. You can’t really tell what you’re looking at. See that rust-colored cloud in the upper right corner of the image? That’s Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
What’s so interesting about a dusty spot on another planet?
The Great Red Spot is a massive, raging storm on the planet’s southern hemisphere that’s been around for 300 years. Still not impressed?
That swirling storm is three and a half times the size of Earth. That seems enormous, but that’s just how Jupiter rolls. At about 89,000 miles in diameter, Jupiter could swallow 1,000 Earths. It is the largest planet in the solar system and its surface is marked by bands of clouds, like this one, carrying 400 MPH winds.
The image was taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 in 1979. And, even to this day, the Great Red Spot helps scientists better understand storm patterns on Earth. Want more? Here are a couple of cool videos about the Great Red Spot: