The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Juno spacecraft flew directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot for the first time on Monday. On Wednesday, it released a set of close-up images of the 16,000-kilometre-wide extraterrestrial storm. Scientists have been monitoring the storm since 1830.

Here is what the Great Red Spot looks like from 9,000 kilometres away.

Scientists say the spot is the planet's best-known feature. Photo credit: AFP/NASA/SWRI/MSSS

Juno flew as close as 3,500 km to Jupiter on Monday. This is the closest any spacecraft has come to the largest planet in the solar system.

The Great Red Spot is size of about two Earths. Photo credit: AFP/NASA/SWRI/ MSSS/TSMITH

Juno’s official Twitter handle had tweeted on Tuesday, “My first #Jupiter science flyby is complete!”. It has since been releasing several photos processed by its followers and scientists.

Juno has been in orbit around Jupiter for a year now. Photo credit: NASA

“This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries,” Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, had said on the eve of the flyby. “Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

Data from Juno’s mission says that the largest planet in the solar system has an “intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones”. The spacecraft was launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The mission seeks to study the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.