Second 'Great Spot' Found at Jupiter, Cold and High Up | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Second 'Great Spot' Found at Jupiter, Cold and High Up

Scientists will be on the lookout for other atmospheric feature while also studying the Great Cold Spot in greater detail, using ground telescopes as well as NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Second 'Great Spot' Found at Jupiter, Cold and High Up
    NASA/ESA/Hubble via AP
    In this composite image provided by NASA on Thursday, June 30, 2016 shows auroras on the planet Jupiter. This image produced by NASA using a photograph captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in spring 2014, and ultraviolet observations of the auroras in 2016. On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, scientists reported a "Great Cold Spot" in the thermospehere of the planet. And unlike the giant planet’s familiar Great Red Spot, this newly discovered weather system is continually changing in shape and size. It's formed by the energy from Jupiter's polar auroras.

    Scientists reported Tuesday that the dark expanse is 15,000 miles across and 7,500 miles wide. It's in the upper atmosphere and much cooler than the hot surroundings, thus the name Great Cold Spot.

    And unlike the giant planet's familiar Great Red Spot, this newly discovered weather system is continually changing in shape and size. It's formed by the energy from Jupiter's polar auroras.

    A British-led team used a telescope in Chile to chart the temperature and density of Jupiter's atmosphere. When the researchers compared the data with thousands of images taken in years past by a telescope in Hawaii, the Great Cold Spot stood out. It could be thousands of years old.

    "The Great Cold Spot is much more volatile than the slowly changing Great Red Spot ... but it has reappeared for as long as we have data to search for it, for over 15 years," the University of Leicester's Tom Stallard, lead author of the study, said in a statement.

    Juno's First Images of Jupiter

    [NATL] Juno's First Images of Jupiter
    NASA released various first ever seen images of Jupiter taken by its Juno spacecraft on Sept. 2, 2016, almost two months after it arrived in an orbit around the gas giant.
    (Published Friday, Sept. 2, 2016)

    Stallard said Jupiter's upper atmosphere may hold other features. Scientists will be on the lookout for them while also studying the Great Cold Spot in greater detail, using ground telescopes as well as NASA's Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter, he said.

    The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.