Hubble Telescope 4K images show Jupiter’s Great Red Spot reducing size as it spins on the southern hemisphere of the gas giant.
This is the first series of 4K images captured by Hubble Telescope part of a wider project meant to bring unique images and videos of the planets in our solar system to the wide public. NASA’s Outer Planet Atmosphere Legacy program oversees the project.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has first been observed almost four centuries ago. Yet, this is the first time the evolution of this mysterious storm is being imaged, offering a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. It seems that now the atmospheric storm is slowing down. What causes it to do so remains a puzzling question, yet the consequences of the Great Red Spot diminishing are shown in the HD video released by NASA.
New weather patterns ensue on Jupiter, and with them, new features become more visible. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is estimated to be three times the size of our home planet. Acting as a swiping force raging on the southern hemisphere of Jupiter, the hurricane-like phenomenon is slowing down. Already in 2014, NASA announced that observations indicate Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is reducing by 580 miles in diameter annually.
Now, the Hubble Telescope 4K images confirm previous year’s findings and add something more. At the center of the Great Red Spot, a new weather pattern seems to be emerging. The thin dark-colored line visible in the Hubble footage could be dark clouds stranded around the hurricane’s center. Amy Simon, planetary scientist with NASA:
“The stagnant region in the middle has gotten smaller over the years, so that may be affecting the region of high velocity winds that circulate around the interior of the Red Spot. Once we know if the speeds have changed, we’ll know more about what this cloud band really means”.
Another exciting feature has caught scientists’ attention. A wave that is travelling through the gases near the equator of Jupiter. This weather pattern has been observed once before, with Voyager 2 capturing it at the time. The wave is travelling at 16 degrees north latitude, but it isn’t clear where it originates from.
After capturing unique 4K images of Neptune and Uranus, and now Jupiter, Hubble Telescope’s next destination is Saturn.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia