Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

hubble-jupiter-red-spot-opo9929bJupiter’s Great Red Spot

When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter’s atmosphere, more than 300 years later. It is now known that it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. Unlike a low-pressure hurricane on Earth, however, the Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction in the southern hemisphere, showing that it is a high-pressure system. Winds inside this Jovian storm reach speeds of about 400 kilometres per hour.

Credit:

Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA/ESA) and Amy Simon (Cornell U.)

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