Close-up the Jupiter"s good Red point out as watched by a Voyager buzzpatterson.comcraft.(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
When girlfriend think the Jupiter, you might think the its huge size, or colorful bands the gases stretching throughout its face. Or you can think that the above storm, that huge, churning red hurricane twice the size of earth that"s remained a signature of our solar system"s biggest planet because for more than a century. This is Jupiter"s good Red Spot and it has actually captivated people for generations.

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Jupiter"s great Red spot was an initial observed in 1831 by amateur astronomer Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, so we know the storm has actually existed because that at the very least 150 years. But it can be also older 보다 that. Part astronomers speculate that, ago in 1665, as soon as astronomer Gian Domenico Cassini (the namesake because that NASA"s Cassini mission) wrote around a "Permanent Storm," he was referring to the good Red Spot.

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What is the good Red Spot?

Jupiter"s great Red spot is a large storm that"s about twice as broad as Earth, circling the planet in its southerly hemisphere. At the storm’s center, winds are relatively calm, but on that edges, wind speeds with 270-425 mph (430-680 km/h). That"s much more than double the speed of also the the strongest hurricanes on Earth, which deserve to generate wind speeds of up to 175 mph (281 km/h).

The storm is consisted of by an eastward-moving atmospheric band to that is north and a westward-moving band to that is south. Those swirling bands are also what formed the storm in the very first place and have retained the storm turn for more than a century, valley Orton, a lead Juno mission team member and planetary scientist in ~ NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told business Insider.


This enhanced-color photo of Jupiter"s great Red point out was created by citizen scientist Jason significant using data native the JunoCam imager ~ above NASA"s Juno buzzpatterson.comcraft. (Image credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Major)

The great Red Spot’s longevity is partly be explained by the fact that Jupiter doesn"t have actually a heavy surface. Jupiter"s "sky" is 70 kilometres (44 miles) deep, and also consists that cloud layers made of ammonia ice, ammonium hydrosulfide or water ice and also vapor. Scientists believe that beneath this layers exist an ocean of fluid hydrogen. And also beneath that ocean is the planet"s main point — however scientists are not sure yet what Jupiter is do of. On Earth, hurricanes begin to slow and break apart once they with solid land, yet with nowhere for the great Red spot to do landfall, the storm deserve to rage on and on.

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"We think what happens is hit a stable size, and that"s once it need to stop and just sort of continue to be that size, uneven something division it apart," Amy Simon, a an elderly scientist at NASA"s Goddard an are Flight Center, said The Atlantic.

And the good Red Spot might actually be break apart. Because scientists started on regular basis observing the storm in 1850, they have noticed that the storm occasionally shrinks and grows, yet is right now on a shrinking trend. What when was 3 times the size of earth now just stretches to twice our planet"s diameter.

Will the an excellent Red point out disappear?

Since 1878, observers have actually kept a robust record of great Red spot observations. In a recent study, a team of scientists analyzed old observations and merged them with brand-new ones indigenous various modern-day buzzpatterson.comcraft, choose the Voyager missions and also the Hubble Telescope.

"There is proof in the archived observations that the good Red Spot has actually grown and also shrunk end time," Reta Beebe, an emeritus professor at brand-new Mexico State college in las Cruces, said in a statement indigenous NASA.. "However, the storm is quite little now, and also it"s been a long time because it critical grew."

Related: Jupiter Quiz: Test her Jovian Smarts

As the storm contracts, it additionally grows taller and changes color, coming to be a much more intense orange. Scientists aren"t certain yet why this is happening, however it could be due to chemical reactions as brand-new material is lugged up from below.

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As the April 2017, the storm measured 10,159 miles (16,350 km) wide. That’s about a 3rd the size observers noted in the 1800s, Orton told company Insider. He claimed the storm could proceed to shrink for the next 10 come 20 years, and also may even disappear.

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