Jupiter, enticing moon Europa star in new Hubble photo

Jupiter and its moon Europa shine in a new photo by the Hubble Space Telescope

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jupiter and its enticing moon Europa shine in a new photo by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble snapped the picture last month when the planet was 406 million miles (653 million kilometers) away, and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore released it Thursday.

Europa, which is smaller than our own moon, appears as a pale dot alongside its giant, color-streaked gas planet. A bright white splotch in Jupiter’s northern latitudes indicates a new storm barreling around the planet at 350 mph (560 kph).

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, meanwhile, is unusually red in the photo. While gradually shrinking, the Great Red Spot is still big enough to swallow Earth.

As for Europa, scientists believe an ocean is flowing beneath its frigid surface. NASA plans to launch a spacecraft, the Europa Clipper, later this decade to see if conditions there might be ripe for life.

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