- One of the most prominent features in the Solar System is Jupiter’s Red Spot.
- This is a massive storm three times the size of the Earth that has been raging across the cloud tops of Jupiter since astronomers first looked at it with a telescope.
- It is large enough to contain two or three planets of Earth size.
- Known as the Great Red Spot, this is an anticyclonic (high pressure) storm that rotates around the planet at about 22°.
- Astronomers think that its darker red color comes from how it dredges up sulfur and ammonia particles from deeper down in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
- These chemicals start out dark and then lighten as they’re exposed to sunlight. Smaller storms on Jupiter are usually white, and then darken as they get larger.
- The recently formed Red Spot Jr. storm turned from white to red as it grew in size and intensity.
- Astronomers have noticed that it’s been slowly shrinking over the last decade or so, losing about 15% of its total size. This might be a temporary situation, or Jupiter’s Red Spot might go on losing its size. If it continues, it should look almost round by 2040.
Source: Universetoday & Science daily