Data obtained by the Juno spacecraft of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has recently revealed new facts about Jupiter. According to the latest research, the Great Red Spot, a circular storm raging on the planet for centuries, extends into Earth.
According to a report in The Verge, the Great Red Spot is about 300 and 500 kilometers. While the figure seems small compared to the diameter of the circular storm, which is over 16,000 kilometers wide, if we imagine the storm on Earth, “it would extend to the space station,” according to Yohai Kaspi, a Juno co-investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The research has been published recently in the journal Science.
In 2011, NASA had launched its spacecraft Juno to get closer to the gas giant. It took the craft five years to reach the planet’s vicinity and insert itself into a wide orbit around it. The rotation took the spacecraft close to Jupiter every 53 days and even passed over the planet’s poles, which scientists had never seen before.
In January this year, NASA declared that Juno’s orbiting the gas giant has been extended till September 2025.
According to data gathered by Juno passing over the Great Red Spot twice in 2019, the Great Red Spot is deep but not as much as the jet streams surrounding the storm, which extend up to 3,000 kilometers.
According to Marzia Parisi, a research scientist on the spacecraft’s team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the data reveals how much more is still left to learn about Jupiter, adding that “now we have a complete three-dimensional view,” instead of the earlier 2D view from telescopes.
According to CNN, the size of the Great Red Spot is shrinking, even as the storm continues. Since 1979, the storm, which was twice the diameter of the Earth at that time, has shrunk by at least one-third.
The data gathered about Jupiter’s poles has revealed that the planet has five cyclonic storms in the shape of a pentagon at the south pole and eight cyclonic storms forming an octagon at the north pole.
The cyclones have remained in place as cyclones on top of each pole push back the storms trying to move towards the poles.