Mystery of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, storm that survives for centuries, may be solved
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a 400-year-old storm that shows no signs of weakening. Source: Supplied
SCIENTISTS believe they have solved the mystery of why Jupiter’s massive storm known as the Great Red Spot has not disappeared.
Planetary experts agree the Great Red Spot – which is actually a giant vortex can be clearly seen in photos of the planet – should have vanished hundreds of years ago. The storm faces strong winds, loses heat and energy and sits between two jet stream that should stop its spinning.
“Based on current theories, the Great Red Spot should have disappeared after several decades. Instead it’s been there for hundreds of years,” said Harvard researcher Padram Hassanzade
Mr Hassanzadeh and his colleague Philip Marcus at the University of California, Berkeley believe they have solved the puzzle – and say vertical air flow is the key to the storm’s long life, Nature World News reports. In the past, scientists have focused only on horizontal airflow or believed that the storm powers itself absorbing smaller vortexed.
Jupiter’s super storm
“Some computer models show that large vortices would live longer if they merge with smaller vortices, but this does not happen enough to explain the Red Spot’s longevity,” said Mr Marcus.
Mr Hassanzadeh and Mr Marcus developed a new model, showing that vertical air flow brings hot gas from above and cold gas from below the storm into the centre of the vortex, which recharges its energy and keeps it going for centuries.
The pair say the vertical air flows help keep the Great Red Spot spinning, but say there are other factors at work they will continue to research.
Researchers have long been puzzled by Jupiter’s Great Red Spot – a massive storm that should have died out but has instead gone for hundreds of years. Picture: AP/NASA
- “Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Should Have Disappeared Centuries Ago” –A New Theory About The Enduring Mystery (dailygalaxy.com)
- Secret Behind the Longevity of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Revealed (scienceworldreport.com)
- How Earth’s rotation affects vortices in nature (phys.org)
- See the Moon Near Jupiter Tonight (space.com)