NASA is showing off a new image of Jupiter that was snapped with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope that shows intricate details of the clouds in Jupiter’s atmosphere. The image seen here was snapped on June 27, 2019. In the image, we can see the iconic Gret Red Spot that is a giant storm that has been raging on Jupiter for many decades.
One notable feature of the image is the vibrant color of the clouds moving towards the Great Red Spot. The raging storm that is the Great Red Spot is itself about the diameter of Earth and rolls counterclockwise between two bands of clouds. The image does confirm that the Great Red Spot is continuing to shrink as it has done for the last 150 years.
Scientist have no idea why the Great Red Spot is shrinking and continue to observe Jupiter try and learn why. The various other white and brown spots in the clouds of Jupiter are much smaller storms and can last for a few hours or centuries. NASA notes that the worm-shaped feature to the south of the Great Red Spot is a cyclone that spins in the opposite direction of the Great Red Spot.
The two white oval features are anticyclones, essentially smaller versions of the Great Red Spot. The bands in the clouds of Jupiter are created by air flowing in opposite directions at various latitudes. They are created by differences in thickness and height of the ammonia ice clouds, the lighter bands rise and have thicker clouds than the darker bands.
The different concentrations are separated by fast wind speeds that can reach up to 650 kph. Hubble dedicates time each year to observing the outer planets of the solar system as part of the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy or OPAL.