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Jupiter's Great Red Spot is rapidly shrinking


Posted on Saturday, 17 May, 2014 | Comment icon 17 comments

A close-up of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers believe that the famous storm in Jupiter's atmosphere is reducing in size faster than ever.
First observed through telescopes as far back as the 17th century, the Great Red Spot is a massive Earth-sized anticyclonic storm that has both baffled and intrigued scientists for years.

This could soon be set to change however as this seemingly permanent feature of Jupiter's swirling atmosphere now appears to be getting smaller at a rate much faster than ever before. The latest calculations based on measurements from Hubble suggest that the spot is now shrinking at a rate of 580 miles per year.

"In our new observations it is apparent that very small eddies are feeding into the storm," said NASA's Amy Simon. "We hypothesized that these may be responsible for the accelerated change by altering the internal dynamics and energy of the Great Red Spot."

At the current rate of reduction scientists believe that Jupiter's trademark storm could disappear altogether within as little as 17 years.

Source: CBS News | Comments (17)

Tags: Jupiter, Great Red Spot

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by taniwha on 17 May, 2014, 22:42
Its not only a circular storm its a pulsing storm so shrinking and expanding are natural features of the spot.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Merc14 on 18 May, 2014, 5:01
I find it enthralling to watch the surface of Jupiter change in our lifetimes. Let's see where it goes because it may stop shrinking or regain strength but the rapidity of change is something unique I think
Comment icon #10 Posted by ShortyStuff on 18 May, 2014, 6:26
It's obviously caused by man-made global warming, so we've got to tax everyone in order to stop it.
Comment icon #11 Posted by paperdyer on 19 May, 2014, 0:57
It's obviously caused by man-made global warming, so we've got to tax everyone in order to stop it. Let call Al Gore for carbon credits for Jupiter. We might get enough money to send a probe.
Comment icon #12 Posted by coolguy on 19 May, 2014, 4:57
That's pretty cool this storm is the size of the earth.i wonder what will happen when the storm stops
Comment icon #13 Posted by cyclopes500 on 19 May, 2014, 19:15
Its a pity we can't bombard this planet with "lots" of probes that can go really deep down inside it. Ones with cameras and lights too that can take immense pressure and heat. The one dropped by Galileo didn't even scratch the surface.
Comment icon #14 Posted by GreenmansGod on 19 May, 2014, 21:02
(It's Obama's fault.) I am glad I live in a time when we witness such things. edit to add I didn't put that in bold type and it won't edit it to regular type.
Comment icon #15 Posted by toast on 19 May, 2014, 21:32
This remembers me about Jupiters South Equatorial Belt fadings as happend last in 2009/2010 when the SEB disappeared completely and returned back in 2010. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/20may_loststripe/
Comment icon #16 Posted by Hawkin on 24 May, 2014, 1:34
There's 2 events that can be told to future generations about Jupiter. The comet that impacted Jupiter and the Great Red Spot.
Comment icon #17 Posted by newbloodmoon on 3 June, 2014, 11:19
Must be due to carbon emissions. We need better carbon taxes... Yarg! Sorry folks, see it's already posted.


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