Red Spot Mystery

The famous Great Red Spot which can be seen on planet Jupiter is not what astronomers previously thought it was. Turns out, the red spot is a warm patch in a cold storm!

The famous Great Red Spot which can be seen on images of Jupiter is not what astronomers previously thought it was. Turns out, the red spot is a warm patch in a cold storm! Scientists have looked at the best ever thermal images of Jupiter and discovered the unusual temperature and weather variation within the solar system’s most famous storm. The "warmth" is negligible in this case though, translating to -250 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the cold, which is an icy -256 degrees. "This is our first detailed look inside the biggest storm of the solar system," Jet Propulsion Laboratory astronomer Glenn Orton, who led the new study to be published in Icarus, told Wired. "We once thought the Great Red Spot was a plain old oval without much structure, but these new results show that it is, in fact, extremely complicated." Sightings of the Red Spot were first made in the late 17th Century and it is thought to be the solar system’s longest-lived and largest storm system, spanning the length of three planet Earths. Wired reports that over the past few decades, astronomers had begun to get a handle on the weather patterns around the Great Red Spot, but not inside of it. Previous measurements have indicated that the spot towered over the surrounding cloud cover, much like supercells on Earth.

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