Share

News Release Archive:

News Release 89 of 180

August 5, 1999 12:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1999-29

Hubble Views Ancient Storm in the Atmosphere of Jupiter

A Hubble Heritage Release

August 5, 1999: When 17th-century astronomers first turned their telescopes to Jupiter, they noted a conspicuous reddish spot on the giant planet. This Great Red Spot is still present in Jupiter's atmosphere, more than 300 years later. It is now known that it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone. Unlike a low-pressure hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, however, the Red Spot rotates in a counterclockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere, showing that it is a high-pressure system. Winds inside this Jovian storm reach speeds of about 270 mph.

The Red Spot is the largest known storm in the solar system. With a diameter of 15,400 miles, it is almost twice the size of the entire Earth and one-sixth the diameter of Jupiter itself. However, the Red Spot does change its shape, size, and color, sometimes dramatically. Such changes are demonstrated in these Hubble telescope pictures.

See the rest:

Image Credit: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA) and Amy Simon (Cornell U.)