Close up of the Red Spot on Jupiter, photographed by Voyager 2, 1979.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
This photograph taken by Voyager 1 shows a close up of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, a storm that has been raging in the gas giant's atmosphere for at least three hundred years. The white spot shows another cloud system that is believed to have formed around 1940. Jupiter's atmosphere is made up of 90 % hydrogen and almost 10 % helium, together with traces of other gases, including methane and ammonia. Immensely strong winds occur, and the storm clouds exhibit colours which are thought to be due to chemical reactions in the atmosphere. NASA's two Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 to explore the planets in the outer solar system. Voyager 2 reached Jupiter in 1979 before flying on to reach Saturn in 1981, Uranus (1986) and Neptune (1989).