Skillfully reworked by astrophotographer and Unmanned Spaceflight member Björn Jónsson, this section from a Voyager 1 image mosaic shows the Great Red Spot as it appeared in March of 1979 in amazing detail…with sunlight coming from the right side, the sense of the clouds really being three-dimensional and that you’re looking down through layers and layers of Jupiter’s giant and swirling atmosphere is, to me, simply staggering. It almost looks more like a close-up of a Van Gogh or Edvard Munch painting rather than a churning hurricane over twice the size of our entire planet!
I cropped and did some slight curve adjustments of my own to heighten the detail even further (because I can’t help myself), but be sure to check out the full-sized original, and read the article on Discover Magazine’s Bad Astronomy blog here or on The Planetary Society’s blog here.
“This image looks sufficiently different (and better!) from the old, official versions that in a way I feel like I’m processing stuff from a new planetary encounter when I see this. We will probably not be seeing anything comparable to this until EJSM (or some future spacecraft) starts orbiting Jupiter.”
– Björn Jónsson
Thirty-one years later and we’re still finding new surprises in space exploration data. How great is that!? Superb work, Björn!
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Björn Jónsson