NASA says Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has a cousin and it’s changing color

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 17, 2020, 5:53pm CDT
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NASA says Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has a cousin and it’s changing color

NASA has published the most recent up-close image of Jupiter, the massive planet covered with beautiful, terrifying storms. The image was captured on August 25 by the Hubble Space Telescope, giving researchers an updated look at the planet and its recent changes. Most notable among those changes is, according to NASA, the Great Red Spot’s ‘cousin’ and its morphing color.

More than 400 million miles span between Earth and Jupiter, a gas giant and the largest planet in the solar system. NASA describes the latest Hubble image of this planet as being similar to getting an updated weather report — Jupiter, of course, is notorious for its stormy atmosphere, particularly the massive cyclone known as the Great Red Spot.

Though it may not seem that way to the average person, the Hubble image is particularly unique and exciting, with NASA explaining that it shows the planet’s mid-northern latitude and a brand new storm that popped up in that region in mid-August. The presence of a new storm isn’t unique, but an image that shows such a fresh development is.

Meanwhile, the image also provides an update on Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, which is now 9,800 miles across — that, NASA notes, makes it big enough to ‘swallow’ our entire planet. Despite the massive size, this represents a shrinking of the storm, which has been observed by humans for decades.

Lesser known but no less important is the Great Red Spot Jr., officially named Oval BA, which is located below the Great Red Spot in the image above. This spot was originally white, but was observed to have switched to a red color back in 2006. The spot turned back to a white shade, which is now darkening in the center, indicating that it may be slowly morphing back toward the same red color observed on its larger ‘cousin.’


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