Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Changing, NASA Says

The winds are picking up speed.
Great Red Spot

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has been keeping a close watch on Jupiters Great Red Spot since more than a decade. It is a huge roiling storm that is larger than the Earth's diameter. This phenomenon has been observed on the planet's surface for over 150 years.

Hubble now knows that the Red Spot's average wind speed is increasing. NASA reports that wind speeds at the storm's perimeter increased eight percent between 2009 and 2020. Wind speeds reached speeds of more than 400 mph at the perimeter.

We don't have a storm chaser aircraft at Jupiter so we can't measure the winds continuously on site," Amy Simon, scientist at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center, stated in a statement. Hubble is the only telescope capable of capturing Jupiter's winds in this level of detail.


This resolution is amazing, as it allows researchers to measure wind speeds differences of less than 1.6 miles.



Simon stated that we are talking about a very small change. Simon also said that without eleven years of Hubble data, it would be hard to know when it occurred. Hubble gives us the precision to identify a trend.

Even with all the records we have, there is still much to learn about the Great Red Spot. According to Michael Wong, University of California Berkeley's lead researcher, it is difficult to determine what an increase in wind speed means. Hubble cannot see the bottom of the storm well. The data does not show anything below the cloud tops.

Wong said that it was an interesting piece, which can help us understand the Great Red Spot's energy and its keeping it going.

READ MORE: Hubble shows that winds in Jupiter's Great Red Spot are speeding up [NASA]



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