Breathtaking new image of Jupiter provides clues about mysterious Great Red Spot




 

Jupiter got a stunning new portrait, and the image may provide new details about the Gas Giant's unique atmosphere.

The photo captured in June by the Hubble telescope shows in vivid color Jupiter's Great Red Spot and the swirling clouds in its atmosphere, NASA announced Thursday.

"The colors, and their changes, provide important clues to ongoing processes in Jupiter's atmosphere," the space agency wrote in a news release.

Related Video: Super-Earth Found, Only 31 Light-Years Away

The European Space Agency, which operates the telescope along with NASA, said the photo confirms that the Great Red Spot, a massive storm roughly the diameter of Earth, is still shrinking. The storm has been raging for at least 150 years, the ESA said.

"The reason for this is still unknown so Hubble will continue to observe Jupiter in the hope that scientists will be able to solve this stormy riddle," the ESA wrote in a blog post. "Much smaller storms appear on Jupiter as white or brown ovals that can last as little as a few hours or stretch on for centuries."

Like a work of art: Photo of Jupiter clouds looks like a work of art: 'Van Gogh is that you?'

The new photo also highlights Jupiter's vibrant bands of gasses in its atmosphere.

According to NASA, the bands are created by differing heights and thicknesses of ammonia ice clouds. Different atmospheric pressures thus create the flowing pattern of the bands.

"Lighter bands rise higher and have thicker clouds than the darker bands," NASA said.

Jupiter's moons: Astronomers discover 12 more moons orbiting Jupiter, including an 'oddball'

The new photo was taken as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy program, an effort that provides an annual look at outer planets and tracks changes in their storms, winds and clouds, NASA said.

"Attempting to understand the forces driving Jupiter's atmosphere is like trying to predict the pattern cream will make when it is poured into a hot cup of coffee," NASA said. "Researchers are hoping that Hubble's yearly monitoring of the planet - as an interplanetary weatherman - will reveal the shifting behavior of Jupiter's clouds."

Follow USA TODAY's Ryan Miller on Twitter: @RyanW_Miller


This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jupiter: New Hubble telescope images show colorful Great Red Spot


COMMENTS

More Related News

Planet 10 times Earth
Planet 10 times Earth's mass may have smacked Jupiter long ago
  • US
  • 2019-08-15 19:10:44Z

Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, may have been smacked head-on by an embryonic planet 10 times Earth's mass not long after being formed, a monumental crash with apparent lasting effects on the Jovian core, scientists said on Thursday. The violent collision, hypothesized by astronomers to explain data collected by NASA's Juno spacecraft, may have occurred just several million years after the birth of the sun roughly 4.5 billion years ago following the dispersal of the primordial disk of dust and gas that gave rise to solar system. "We believe that impacts, and in particular giant impacts, might have been rather common during the infancy of the solar system.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.