Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is perhaps one of the most tremendous and iconic features in our Solar System. Not to mention the fact that the planet itself is the largest in our Solar System. This massive cyclone has been swirling around Jupiter for so long we don’t know exactly when it first began to swirl. Nowadays, it’s so taken for granted—especially for those that aren’t into Astronomy and Cosmology. However, the storm on this great planet is, unfortunately, slowly dying away. And the latest data from the Juno Spacecraft, recovered from Scientists at NASA, suggests that it might actually ‘be gone within our lifetimes’. In a new research conducted and released by Scientists at NASA suggests that it’s actually changing in shape, as well as in colour—as it enters its twilight years.
Jupiter’s latest images have revealed some surprising changes to the Great Red Spot. The storm is in fact now smaller in diameter, than that of the previous set of photographs released. The swirling winds are reaching a higher altitude into the planet’s atmosphere than before; thus stretching the storm taller as it swirls upward. At the same time, its iconic crimson hue is becoming more orange, probable as a result of the highest gasses being exposed to ultra-violet radiation.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that both Jupiter and its Great Red Spot aren’t great. It can still swallow the entire Earth thoroughly. Yet the Great Red Spot is definitely less impressive that it once was when Astronomers first discovered it. And as NASA notes, a century and a half ago it, the Great Red Spot, was so wide that you could fit four (Planet) Earths inside of its footprint (clearly losing a lot of steam, in my case).
‘Its north-south colour asymmetry has decreased, and the dark core has become smaller,’ the researchers wrote. ‘Internal velocities have decreased on its east and west edges, and decreased on the north and south, resulting in decreased relative vorticity and circulation. The GRS’s colour changes from 2014 to 2017 may be explained by changes in stretching vorticity or divergence acting to balance the decrease in relative vorticity.’
The observations of Jupiter stretch as far as the sixteen-sixties—which point to the presence of an entirely diverse storm that may have followed the Great Red Spot. The storm, before the Great Red Spot, is thought to have been the remains of a dying storm that utterly vanished long before modern imaging would have allowed it to be captured on film. And if the Great Red Spot certainly does sputter out within the next few decades, another great cyclone could always form in its wake—far in the future, from which we will see it.