Great Red Spot
The Spot is thought to be a hurricane-like disturbance caused and maintained by the Coriolis effect. Infrared observations and the direction of its rotation indicate that the Spot is a high-pressure zone whose cloud tops are significantly higher and colder than the surrounding regions. It has been studied for more than a century and may have been first seen over 300 years ago, its discovery usually attributed to Giovanni Cassini or Robert Hooke in the 16th century.
The Little Red Spot
The pictures shown here were taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys on Apr. 8, 2006. Near-infrared measurements indicate that the Little Red Spot may reach high above the main clouds, similar to the Great Red Spot. The images here add evidence to the idea that Jupiter is in the middle of significant climate change. Temperatures at some latitudes could be changing by over 5°C, scientists suggest. Another link to climate is that Red Spot Jr is forming at a latitude of 34° south. Theory has it that this is the where the transfer of heat from the equator to the pole comes to a halt.
Update: Little Red Spot seen by New Horizons probeThe best view yet of the Little Red Spot was provided by the New Horizons spacecraft on Feb. 27, 2007, as it swung past Jupiter on its way to Pluto. From a distance of 3 million km, the probe's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) was able to snap a picture of the Spot at a resolution of 15 km (9 miles) per pixel, which is 10 times better than the resolution provided by the Hubble Space Telescope.
From the early LORRI images, it appears that the storm is interacting more with the clouds around it than it was previously, enabling the Little Red Spot to maintain its integrity. The smaller, brighter spot beneath the Little Red Spot is another east-bound storm.
Related category PLANETS AND MOONS
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy • Contact