NASA’s Juno Spacecraft has documented images of Jupiter’s great red spot for the first time, producing a “perfect storm of art and science”.

The new images depict an enormous crimson-coloured oval surrounded by swirling venous clouds which delicately entangle with the outer reaches of the centre.

Jupiter’s iconic great red spot – which at 10,159 miles is triple the width of Earth – was caught on film by the JunoCam images during its Monday flyby this week. Researchers have monitored the storm since 1830 but as the photos were taken from 5600 miles above the crimson swirl, they are the closest images ever captured of it.

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Juno began its long journey to the solar system’s largest planet on August 5, 2011 from Florida. Since then the $1.1 billion spacecraft has travelled just shy of 350 million miles to its destination, which it reached in July 2016.

If all goes to plan, the mission will shed light on the planet’s structure, magnetic field, radiation emittance and possibly even the nature of the great red spot.

The National:

Remarkably, the mission continues without significant technical failures. As it made its historic flyby, all of Juno’s scientific instruments and cameras were in perfect working order, collecting data which is currently being transmitted back to Earth.

Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said: “For hundreds of years scientists have been observing, wondering and theorising about Jupiter’s great red spot.

“Now we have the best pictures ever of this iconic storm. It will take us some time to analyse all the data from not only JunoCam, but Juno’s eight science instruments, to shed some new light on the past, present and future of the great red spot.”

Jim Green, Nasa’s director of planetary science hailed the work of Juno, adding its name to the long line of successful Nasa missions.

He said: “These highly-anticipated images of Jupiter’s great red spot are the ‘perfect storm’ of art and science. With data from Voyager, Galileo, New Horizons, Hubble and now Juno, we have a better understanding of the composition and evolution of this iconic feature.

Green was also keen to stress the importance of citizen scientists, who were provided access to the images and allowed to process them, creating images which had a greater level of detail than the originals.

“We are pleased to share the beauty and excitement of space science with everyone,” he said.

Jason Major, a graphic designer citizen scientist from Rhode Island said: “It’s always exciting to see these new raw images of Jupiter as they arrive. But it is even more thrilling to take the raw images and turn them into something that people can appreciate.

“That’s what I live for.”