NASA's Jupiter Images Reveal Shrinking 'Great Red Spot,' Rare Waves In Northern Hemisphere

October 14, 2015 11:30 AM

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NASA's Jupiter Images Reveal Shrinking 'Great Red Spot,' Rare Waves In Northern Hemisphere

Jupiter’s famous “Great Red Spot” -- a persistent and gigantic storm that has been rumbling in the gas giant’s southern hemisphere for at least the past 300 Earth years -- is just one of the many defining characteristics of the planet’s dense and dynamic atmosphere. Since this vortex, which is large enough to engulf three Earths, was first spotted in 1664, scientists have noticed that it has been shrinking.

New images, obtained using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, confirm that the Great Red Spot continues to shrink and become more circular as it weakens. And, as the images -- taken over a span of 10 hours -- show, the storm is now contracting at a faster-than-usual rate.

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