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Images: Seeing spots on Jupiter and Saturn

Jupiter's Red Spot Jr. is a storm that is growing in intensity while clearings are sighted in Saturn's thick cloud cover.
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1 of 4 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Red Spot Jr.

Red Spot Jr., a storm the size of Earth that is raging on Jupiter, is growing stronger and is now about as severe as the Great Red Spot which was first observed 400 years ago.

Winds that rage in Red Spot Jr. are estimated at around 400 mph. In contrast, the strongest category 5 hurricane on Earth has winds above 155 mph.

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2 of 4 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Red Spot formation

Three storms, first observed in 1997, collided over the next three years--creating one larger storm that was white. But in November 2005 the spot started turning red.

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3 of 4 Andy Smith/ZDNet

string of pearls

Scientists are calling the spots along Saturn, a "string of pearls." This image was taken by the Cassini probe's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer and was lit by the planet's internal glow. The "pearls" or spots are actually clearings within Saturn's deep cloud system.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

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4 of 4 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Rings

The Cassini probe has been hiding recently in the shadow of Saturn, allowing it to snap never-before-seen images of the planet's rings. In Saturn's shadow for 12 hours at a stretch allows the probe to turn its cameras toward the planet while the Sun lights the rings from behind.

This is a composite of 165 images taken over three hours. In this image the color contrasts have been great exaggerated. The color across and along the E-ring appears to be different between the right side and the left. Scientists have no explanation.

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