Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

we all know that Jupiter is the largest planet out there in our solar system; it’s actually 318 times as massive as earth! So you can only imagine its immensity. Not only does Jupiter also have 63 moons but there is the famous ‘Red Spot’ that also exists.

If you aren’t already aware of what the Red spot is, it is basically a Giant Red area in Jupiter’s atmosphere which is said to be a spinning storm. Several astrologists compare it to a harsh hurricane on a massively enormous scale. The red spot is so big that it is more than double the size of our planet earth! The earth that we thought was already so big, but it actually isn’t anymore. The most deadliest and powerful hurricane ever recorded on our planet earth was about 1000 miles across with harsh winds of 200 mph and that seems nothing to what the red spot has in store.

So has the Red spot always been pre existing in Jupiter? Or did it make its first appearance at some point? Well, no one actually knows the answer to these yet; for all we know scientists and astrologists claim that it has been on Jupiter ever since Space had started to be discovered, so about 400 years maybe. But what they still struggle to figure out is the cause behind the red hues of the storm that earned its name as the Red spot.

This massive storm on Jupiter holds winds peaking to about 425 mph and is about 20,000 kilometers long and 12000 kilometers wide. However, it is only now that NASA with the help of their Juno spacecraft are getting to the roots of the red spot, discovering that the storm actually extends much deeper than the planet’s surface. Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the southwest Research Institute located in San Antonia and his team stated that after several investigations about the red spot and its roots they have concluded that the Spot goes about 300 kilometers deep into the Jupiter’s atmosphere; that is like 50-100 times deeper than the oceans of the Earth!

Andy Ingersoll, Juno co-investigator and Professor at Caltech of Planetary science stated that the base detected to be much warmer that the top. He quotes “Winds are associated with differences in temperature, and the warmth of the spot’s base explains the ferocious winds we see at the top of the atmosphere.”

Another recent discovery from Juno’s spacecraft in addition to the above is the discovery of two newly identified Radiation zones within the red spot. While one was still surprising to find, researchers were more than astonished to discover a second radiation band. The first one lies just above the equator of the giant atmosphere and it also includes oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur ions moving at near light speed. Whereas the second region of radiation lies around Jupiter’s high latitudes but how and why it exists and came about is still unresolved for researchers.

One factor, however, that has caught the attention of scientists across the globe is the unexplainable act of the Red spot shrinking. Around the late 1970’s the Red spot was large enough to hold three earths in it, however, today after intense analysis and observations it is claimed to be able to hold only about one earth. A few years back, researchers from NASA hypothesized that may be due to collisions with other storms around its atmosphere was the reason for the reduction in its size as it saps the energy from the Red spot, However it was discovered shortly that the nearby storms were not responsible for sucking the energy from the Red spot but it was the other way around actually. And despite attaining more energy by ingesting smaller vortices, the question of why the Red Spot is still shrinking remains a mystery for all.


What do you think?