The Great Red Spot on Jupiter

Jupiter�s Great Red Spot is a great high-pressure storm similar to a hurricane on Earth, but it is nowhere near the size of one. This storm has been swirling around Jupiter for centuries. It is so enormous that it is visible from a telescope, even a large backyard one. It would take three Earths to fit in the Great Red Spot�s boundaries. The storm has been going on for at least 400 years. Giovanni Cassini, who observed and discovered many other astronomical things, was speculated to be the first to observe the Great Red Spot during the 1600s. In more modern times, NASA and their amazing spacecrafts have been able to capture higher quality images of the storm. New discoveries have been found regarding the Great Red Spot. Measured across, the storm used to be 40,000 km a century ago. Now, astronomers have found that it is shrinking! It now measures about half the size of what it was a hundred years ago. According to scientists at UC Berkley, the great spot had shrunken by 15% of its diameter from 1996 to 2006. It is also molding into a more round, circular shape. Many predict that the spot will become completely circular by 2040. For years, astronomers have seen the Great Red Spot�s clouds diminishing, but they now found that it�s best to study the size of the storm based on its motion. No judgments have been made about how long the storm will last. However, some do think that the Great Red Spot may disappear one day. Also, researchers are not sure about the exact cause of this phenomenon. They do not know exactly why it is shrinking or how it got its color. However, some astronomers speculate that the spot is red because of dark compounds that are pulled up from the depths of Jupiter. When the compounds reach the surface, the sunlight exposure causes them to turn red or brown.

Contrary to Earth�s hurricanes being a low-pressure system, the Great Red Spot is more stable because it is a high-pressure system. This is one of the causes of the spot�s long lasting lifetime. Another reason why the storm has been continuing to travel around Jupiter for so many centuries is because there is no land on the planet that can slow the storm down. Another interesting thing about Jupiter�s atmosphere is that when viewed from above, it gives off the illusion of having beautiful and colorful swirls and bands. However, if one would approach closer, he or she would see that it isn�t as beautiful as it seems. The monstrous storm has such strong winds that it would quickly break away anything close to it. Even NASA�s probes that were sent towards Jupiter�s interior were immediately demolished by its massive atmospheric pressure.

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