Glorious Jupiter, our Solar System’s bold big brother, is putting up a show. An incredible new shot from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows the majestic planet’s aggressive, ever-evolving weather, unveiling long- and short-term changes.
In the northern hemisphere, reckless clouds could indicate the birth of a new whirling storm, while down south, a long-lived storm and about half the Great Red Spot’s size appears to be slowly changing color from white to red. Here is what you need to know.
Reckless Storms, too Many Changes, and the Same Old Planet
The Great Red Spot is Jupiter’s most famous storm, and it’s undoubtedly the most eye-catching trait in the new image captured by Hubble. It’s a massive storm, rotating anticlockwise, and astronomers believe it’s been around for at least 350 years.
For instance, in the last decades, the Great Red Spot appears to have been shortening, a mystery that has been puzzling astronomers, but it’s still massive; currently, it is about 15,800 kilometers, more extensive than Earth’s 12,742-kilometer diameter.
And recently, the mysterious Great Red Spot’s shrinkage has slowed, but that doesn’t mean it stopped entirely. Also, just below it is a storm dubbed Oval BA, much younger than the Great Red Spot, but incredibly fascinating.
Oval BA Features
According to astronomers, Oval BA formed in the late 1990s from three smaller storms that had been there for 60 years. Oval BA has been intensifying ever since.
Interestingly, it began its newly merged living as a white storm. And, in 2006, astronomers discovered that it was changing color. It became red, just like its bigger cousin. But it didn’t stay like that. It changed back to white until the Hubble Space Telescope captured something intriguing.
Oval BA appears to be returning to its favorite shade: red. Such a thing will be fascinating to observe in the future, to find out of there’s any reason or rhyme behind these color changes.
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