jupiter great red spot

NASA has released a new image of Jupiter that shows the bands of the planet’s atmosphere in unprecedented color.
The photo also highlights the planet’s Great Red Spot, a centuries-old storm that’s shrinking.
The Great Red Spot could disappear in the next 20 years, but scientists don’t know why.

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A new NASA portrait immortalizes the dying storm on Jupiter’s surface.

The Hubble Space Telescope captures annual snapshots of our solar system’s gas giant planets, and NASA just published the latest set. The image of Jupiter stands out, however, since it shows the Great Red Spot and the clouds in Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere in unprecedented color.

The Great Red Spot is an ancient storm that’s now about the size of Earth. But when scientists first spotted it in the 1800s, it was four times bigger.

The reasons the iconic tempest is shrinking are still mysterious, however.

Jupiter’s annual portrait is more colorful than ever

Hubble’s images help scientists keep track of storms, winds, and clouds on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

The Earth-orbiting telescope snapped the new image of Jupiter when the planet about 400 million miles from Earth and directly opposite the sun. That’s why the picture could be rendered in such clear color.

Jupiter’s stripes come from clouds of ammonia ice, which make up its upper atmosphere. Differences in the clouds’ thickness and height create the colorful bands. Lighter stripes consist of thicker clouds that rise higher than the darker ones.

The cloud bands flow in opposite directions across the planet, and are kept in place by jet streams and 400 mile-per-hour winds, which prevent them from moving north and south. The bands sometimes change color though, and scientists can track those changes to find out what’s going on in the Jupiter’s atmosphere.

The white dots in …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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