Jupiter, enticing moon Europa star in new Hubble photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (AP) — 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 653 million kilometres away, and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore released it last Thursday.

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

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, meanwhile, is unusually red in the photo. While gradually shrinking, the massive storm 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.

Image captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on August 25 shows the planet Jupiter and one of its moons, Europa, when the planet was 406 million miles from Earth. PHOTO: AP