NASA’s Juno spacecraft caught these stunning swirls of clouds from 7,578 miles above Jupiter. The orbiter started exploring the gas giant in 2016, giving researchers an unprecedented peek into the planet’s churning atmosphere, which is loaded with roiling cloud bands and rotating storms.
Right now, whorls of wind abound on Earth’s surface. As Hurricane Florence slams the Carolinas, more tropical storms swirl in its wake in the Atlantic, while on the other side of the globe, Typhoon Mangkhut races toward the Philippines.
The danger of these storms shouldn’t be underestimated—but Earth’s not the only planet that can dole out some stormy fury.
The most famous tempest in the solar system may be Jupiter's Great Red Spot. This rusty vortex is so large, the entire Earth could easily fit inside, and scientists think it's been swirling for at least 150 years. NASA's Juno spacecraft arrived at the gas giant in 2016 and treated us to the closest look yet at this massive storm. But many mysteries remain: Why is it red? What drives this cyclonic curl? And why does the spot seem to be shrinking?
However, Jupiter’s monster storm pales in comparison to Saturn’s hexagon, a towering polar vortex that can squeeze nearly four Earths within its six sides. Even the thin atmosphere on Mars manages to form wispy cyclones near the poles, and—as happened this year—it can generate planet-wide dust storms dense enough to blot out the sun.
Here are a few of the most impressive storms that have raged across the solar system, as seen by orbiting spacecraft.