The Sciences

Jupiter's Shrinking Spot

The Great Red Spot's size is decreasing faster than previously thought.

By Liz KruesiNov 26, 2014 12:00 AM
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was considerably larger when the Voyager probes zoomed by in 1979, shown here, than when Hubble saw it in 2014. | 1979 Jupiter, NASA/JPL/Bjorn Bjorn Jonsson

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

Astronomers have known for decades that Jupiter’s trademark weather pattern — the stormy Great Red Spot — is shrinking. But in May, after taking a closer look with the Hubble Space Telescope, they learned that lately the spot has been shrinking at a faster rate.

In 1979, when Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flew by, the Great Red Spot was 14,500 miles wide. Now it’s just 10,250 miles wide and shrinking by 580 miles per year.

The cause of the big shrink remains a mystery.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.