The big brother Majestic Jupiter is pushing the best side of our solar system. A sharp new image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the vast, ever-evolving climate of a giant planet – showing both short- and long-term changes.
In the Northern Hemisphere, storm clouds may indicate the formation of a new whirlwind, while to the south, below the long-running storm and half the size of the Great Red Spot, the size seems to be gradually changing from white to red.
If that’s not enough, on the left we also have a photobomb of the ice moon Europa, one of our goals for exploring life in the outside world.
The Great Red Spot is the most famous of Jupiter’s storms, and it is the most striking feature in this new image. It’s a truly formidable storm, heading towards the anticlock, and we think it has lasted at least 350 years.
Over the past few decades, the Great Red Spot seems to have shrunk, a mystery that has been baffling scientists, but it is still huge; Currently, it measures around 15,800 kilometers (9,818 miles). That’s down from 16,350 kilometers (10,159 miles) in 2017, but even more significant than Earth’s 12,742-kilometers (7917.5-miles) in diameter.
Recently, the contraction of the Great Red Spot has slowed, but not completely stopped.
Just below it is the Oval B.A. It is much smaller than the Great Red Spot, but it is quite attractive in its own way. In the late 1990’s it formed three small storms that had been raging for 60 years, and have been intensifying ever since.
Interestingly, he started his newly merged life like a white hurricane. Then, in 2006, scientists noticed that it was changing color – turning red like its older cousin. It didn’t stay that way, you can see. It turned white again within a few years. But Hubble’s new picture reveals that the white color collection was nowhere to be found. Oval B.A. Looks like it’s turning red again.
It will be interesting to see in the future to determine if there is a poem or reason behind these color changes, but it will be many years before any patterns can be known.
In the Northern Hemisphere, at mid-latitude, a very bright white storm has appeared, traveling through Plum, traveling 560 kilometers per hour (350 miles per hour). As you probably understand, storms come and go all the time on Jupiter, but this one looks different.
A small, dark cyclone swarm – moving in the direction of the anticlock – follows behind it, embedded in the plum. We haven’t seen this before, and scientists believe it’s probably the Great Red Spot and Oval B.A. in the south. Could be a similar long-lasting storm.
There is definitely a lot for planetary scientists to sink their teeth into as they try to understand the wild and unpredictable atmosphere of Jupiter. But it is also a wonderful reminder of the beauty and wonder of our little corner of the universe.
*Each side is the excellent side of Jupiter.