Space and Science

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is not dying, scientist says

CNN  — 

The Great Red Spot is Jupiter’s most defining feature, and researchers say the storm has been shrinking for the last 150 years. Last year, photos taken by NASA’s Juno mission appeared to show the Great Red Spot shedding flakes, as though it was dying.

But Philip Marcus, a computational physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, doesn’t think the flakes are the spot’s death knell. He and his team of students shared their findings during the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics 72nd Annual Meeting in Seattle on Monday.

Some believe the giant storm, called an anticyclone because it moves in the opposite direction of the planet’s orbit, was first seen in 1664 by Robert Hooke – although it’s argued that Hooke was looking at a different storm on Jupiter. NASA says the first confirmed sighting was in 1831.

Since then, the storm has been tracked and analyzed each year since 1878, accounting for size, color, drift rate and shape.

Currently, the Great Red Spot’s diameter could hold two Earth-sized planets. The storm itself is structured like a wedding cake, with an upper layer extending more than three miles higher than its surrounding clouds, according to