Earlier in the summer, Jupiter reached a point in the sky, which is known in the scientific community as an opposition. The planet is almost in complete opposition with the sun when viewed from Earth.
Hubble Space Telescope Snaps Amazing Images Of Jupiter
The short period is excellent for surveying the biggest planet in our solar system, and the Hubble Space Telescope has been hard at work. Towards the end of June, when the golden period was near the end, Hubble manage to record an impressive image of the planet, revealing many fascinating details. The prime star of the picture is the Great Red Spot, a massive anticyclonic storm which is more significant than our planet.
The savage winds generated by the storm can reach a speed of up to 680 kilometers per hour (or 425 miles per hour) as they travel between two bands of clouds. Many researchers are fascinated by the fact that the storm shows its full force in the atmosphere of the planet, with a height of approximately 5 kilometers above the clouds, while dragging the surrounding clouds into its powerful vortex. Interestingly, the eye or center of the storm is quite calm, in a fashion similar to hurricanes which are encountered on Earth.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Shrinking
In the past researchers believed that the Great Red Spot appeared 350 years ago but recent images infer that the storm is shrinking. The mechanics behind this phenomenon remain unknown for now. The bands of color spread across the planet remain enigmatic, but we know that they are fueled by strong winds with a top speed of 540 kilometers per hour (or 335 miles per hour).
Bands with a brighter color have been classified as zones while the darker ones are belts. Some researchers argue that the color of the light ones is influenced by ammonia ice, but the phenomena connected to their formation remains a mystery for now. An array of scientific instruments focus on the gas giant, Jupiter, as researchers want to learn more about it.
Stacy Richardson is a seasoned journalist with 15 years experience.. She has conducted numerous research studies on media effects including the effects of bullying on adolescents, and “sexy media” effects on sexual behavior. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Stacy covers stories affecting local politics and economy. Contact Stacy here.