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: Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gaia discovers its first supernova

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away.

Recommended for you

Exomoons Could Be Abundant Sources Of Habitability

10 hours ago

With about 4,000 planet candidates from the Kepler Space Telescope data to analyze so far, astronomers are busy trying to figure out questions about habitability. What size planet could host life? How far ...

Partial solar eclipse over the U.S. on Thursday, Oct. 23

Oct 17, 2014

People in most of the continental United States will be in the shadow of the Moon on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 23, as a partial solar eclipse sweeps across the Earth. For people looking through sun-safe filters, from Los Angeles, ...

A newborn supernova every night

Oct 17, 2014

Thanks to a $9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and matching funds from the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) collaboration, a new camera is being built at Caltech's Palomar Observatory that ...

User comments : 0