NASA has published an image of our solar systems largest planet, Jupiter, and more specifically its terrifying storms. The image was originally taken by the Hubble Space Telescope on 25 August and provided researchers with an updated look at how the planet is slowly changing over time.
The most notable of changes researchers noticed is the Great Red Spot’s ‘cousin’ Oval BA, also known as ‘Red Spot Jr’ by astronomers and the fact that it appears to be changing colour. You can see Oval BA just below the Great Red Spot in the image below.
According to NASA, “Red Spot Jr. has been fading in colour to its original shade of white after appearing red in 2006. However, now the core of this storm appears to be darkening slightly. This could hint that Red Spot Jr. is on its way to turning to a color more similar to its cousin once again”.
Take a look at the image below
The icy moon Europa, thought to hold potential ingredients for life, is visible to the left of the gas giant.
Aside from its colossal size, Jupiter is most well-known for its extremely stormy atmosphere, in particular the 16,350 km wide cyclone, more commonly known as the Great Red Spot.
At first glance, NASA’s most recent image of Jupiter may not seem very special, but upon closer inspection, you can begin to see why it got researchers so excited. As NASA explained, the image shows Jupiter’s mid-northern latitude along with evidence of a brand new storm that popped up in mid-August. While Jupiter already has an abundance of storms, being able to view one during the early stages of its evolution is quite special.
NASA also provided an update on the Great Red Spot, which scientist claim is big enough to swallow the entire Earth. The huge super-storm is however shrinking in size, as noted in telescopic observations dating back to 1930, but the reason for its dwindling size still remains a mystery.
Image credit: NASA