Astronomers marvel at 'Red Spot Jr'

May 05, 2006
Astronomers marvel at 'Red Spot Jr'
NASA´s Hubble Space Telescope is giving astronomers their most detailed view yet of a second red spot emerging on Jupiter. For the first time in history, astronomers have witnessed the birth of a new red spot on the giant planet, which is located half a billion miles away. The storm is roughly one-half the diameter of its bigger and legendary cousin, the Great Red Spot. Researchers suggest that the new spot may be related to a possible major climate change in Jupiter´s atmosphere. These images were taken with Hubble´s Advanced Camera for Surveys on April 8 and 16, 2006. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon-Miller (Goddard Space Flight Center) and I. de Pater (University of California, Berkeley)

Astronomers say NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is giving them their most detailed view yet of a second red spot emerging on Jupiter.

The sighting marks the first time in history astronomers have witnessed the birth of a new red spot on the Solar System's giant planet, half a billion miles from Earth. Researchers suggest the new red spot may be related to a possible major climate change in Jupiter's atmosphere.

Dubbed by some astronomers as "Red Spot Jr.," the new spot has been followed by amateur and professional astronomers for the past few months. But Hubble's new images provide a level of detail comparable to that achieved by NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft as they flew by Jupiter a quarter-century ago.

The smaller spot formed after three white oval-shaped storms merged during 1998 to 2000. At least one or two of the progenitor white ovals can be traced back 90 years, but they may have been present earlier.

A third spot appeared in 1939, while The Great Red Spot has been visible for 400 years, since telescopes were invented.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: New technique for isolating sunny-day 'light' scattering could help illuminate Universe's birth

Related Stories

The dreadful beauty of Medusa

May 20, 2015

Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured the most detailed image ever taken of the Medusa Nebula. As the star at the heart of this nebula made its transition into retirement, it ...

Video: Kepler observes Neptune dance with its moons

May 15, 2015

NASA's Kepler spacecraft, known for its planet-hunting prowess of other stars, is also studying solar system objects. In its new K2 mission, Neptune and two of its moons, Triton and Nereid, have been imaged. ...

Recommended for you

NASA telescopes set limits on space-time quantum 'foam'

14 hours ago

A team of scientists has used X-ray and gamma-ray observations of some of the most distant objects in the universe to better understand the nature of space and time. Their results set limits on the quantum ...

Shining message about the end of the Dark Ages

17 hours ago

An international team, including researchers from the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University (ZAH), has discovered three "cosmic Methusalems" from the earliest years of the universe. These unusual stars are about 13 ...

The kinematics of merging galaxies

17 hours ago

The unprecedented sensitivity of space telescopes has powered a revolution over the past decade in our understanding of galaxies in the young universe during its first billion years of existence. These primitive ...

Hubble video shows shock collision inside black hole jet

May 27, 2015

When you're blasting though space at more than 98 percent of the speed of light, you may need driver's insurance. Astronomers have discovered for the first time a rear-end collision between two high-speed ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.