May 5, 2006

Jupiter No Longer a Cyclops

Witness the birth of Red Spot Jr. on Jupiter (left of picture).

NY Times
May 5, 2006
Jupiter's Great Red Spot Has Companion

By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
For the past few months, astronomers have tracked an emerging second red spot on Jupiter, at left, a growing rival about one-half the diameter of the planet's trademark Great Red Spot. The Hubble Space Telescope has now snapped the first detailed pictures of what some observers are calling Red Spot Jr.

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore said this was the first time scientists had witnessed the birth of one of these huge oval spots, presumably a convective phenomenon like a powerful thunderstorm. The Great Red Spot was already present when observers first looked with telescopes at the planet some 400 years ago.

Though Red Spot Jr. is half the size, the astronomers said it appeared in near-infrared images to be as bright in Jupiter's cloudy atmosphere as its large companion. They suggested that the new storm might rise higher above the main cloud deck than the older spot.

The pictures made public yesterday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration do not represent the planet's true colors. Their contrast has been enhanced. But the red spots, new and old, really are red.

3 comments:

burnedouteyes said...

wow.

imagine being in those storms....

Rage said...

word, man.

word.

saurav said...

Interesting! Thanks!