Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is a giant, spinning storm in Jupiter’s atmosphere. It is like a hurricane on Earth, but it is much larger. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is more than twice the size of Earth! Winds inside this storm reach speeds of about 400 miles per hour. Nobody knows when the Great Red Spot first appeared on Jupiter, but it has been seen on Jupiter ever since people started looking through telescopes about 400 years ago.

The oval object rotates counterclockwise, with a period of about six Earth days or 14 Jovian days. The Great Red Spot’s dimensions are 24–40,000 km west to east and 12–14,000 km south to north. It is large enough to contain two or three planets the size of Earth. The cloudtops of this storm are about 8 km above the surrounding cloudtops.

Another mystery surrounding the red spot is what makes it red: scientists have come up with several theories Theories supported by laboratory experiments suppose that the color may be caused by complex organic molecules, red phosphorus, or yet another sulphur compound, but a consensus has yet to be reached. That will be a question for future astronomy!

 

Image Credits:NASA/JPL/University of Arizona