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Jupiter’s Great Red Spot extending upward as it shrinks

14 Mar 2018, 00:37 UTC
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot extending upward as it shrinks
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Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with Earth superimposed at the same scale. The huge storm has been shrinking overall since continuous observations began in 1878, but a new NASA study shows it is moving faster and extending upward. Image: NASA
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with Earth superimposed at the same scale. The huge storm has been shrinking overall since continuous observations began in 1878, but a new NASA study shows it is moving faster and extending upward. Image: NASA
Though once big enough to swallow three Earths with room to spare, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been shrinking for a century and a half. Nobody is sure how long the storm will continue to contract or whether it will disappear altogether.
A new study suggests that it hasn’t all been downhill, though. The storm seems to have increased in area at least once along the way, and it’s growing taller as it gets smaller.
“Storms are dynamic, and that’s what we see with the Great Red Spot. It’s constantly changing in size and shape, and its winds shift, as well,” said Amy Simon, an expert in planetary atmospheres at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of ...

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