NASA’s revolutionary Juno spacecraft is slowly unraveling hidden facts about Jupiter, and as per the latest reports, it has collected some interesting information about the Great Red Spot of the gas giant. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is believed to be holding one of the biggest storms of the solar system. The crimson-hued anticyclone is so large that it could engulf the whole earth and the winds are three times as fast as the jet streams.
As per the data collected from Juno, the storms of the Great Red Spot are believed to be around 187 years old and are expected to remain active after all of us are gone. The storm system, consisting of hot, swirling gas, has very deeper roots and extends down to almost 217 miles into the Jupiter’s atmosphere. The roots of the storm could well run deeper than this because Juno’s microwave radiometer can sense up to a limit of about 200 miles. But scientists think that if Juno makes use of gravity measurements, then it can really sense up to 1000 km below the gas giant’s cloud tops and can detect mass movements connected with the spot.
Prof Andrew Ingersoll, from the California Institute of Technology, said that they are now putting together the 3D structure of the Great Red Spot, whereas they have only known it from a 2D perspective before. “Precisely how deep the roots go is still to be determined. But the warmth we see at depth is consistent with the winds we measure at the top of the atmosphere,” he said. He further said that understanding the behavior of the Great Red Spot could improve scientists understanding of weather on Earth. He said that, with the help of Juno, their team wanted to know how the gigantic storms are formed and what is the reason behind their long-lasting behavior. According to him, Jupiter’s giant storms are a good ‘stress test’ for Earth-based weather models. “For practical reasons, the first efforts to understand the red spot and all the flows on Jupiter borrowed computer models from Earth science,” but for this gigantic storm, we’ve got to stretch the models more than that,” Ingersoll informed.
The Juno team also informed that the spot very big(big enough to engulf two Earths) when NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft visited Jupiter in 1979 and since then the Great Red Spot has been shrinking steadily. They say that the future of the spot is not clear, but they are trying to gather as much data as they can about the spot with the help of Juno. Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016, and since then it has been collecting important data about Jupiter through its eight successful close flybys across the cloud tops of the gas giant in every 53 days. The Juno team believes that, before understanding other planets, it is very important to first thoroughly know Jupiter, its origin, and its atmosphere. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.