Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Explained

One of the more exciting aspects of modern space exploration is the fact that we don’t need to leave earth in order to perform it. A combination of existing data, long range equipment, and modern laboratories can provide insight into some of the oldest questions about our solar system the same way an app like Skout gives us access to new people. A strong example of this theory put into practice can be found with recent research into the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. 

The first documented observation of the Great Red Spot is debatable. It may date as far back as four hundred years. One thing is clear though. People have been mystified by this huge red region of Jupiter for a very long time. Now, humanity might finally know why the Great Red Spot is red. A research team led by Dr Kevin Baines has managed to analyze the spot without ever needing to venture out of the lab. And the results will surprise a lot of people. 

It turns out that the Great Red Spot isn’t quite as red as many had previously believed. The coloration of the area itself holds true to previous observation. But if one were to go a little further below the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, than the coloration would disappear. Instead, one would simply see normal grey clouds. These would be far more dynamic than on earth of course, given that the spot is a huge cyclone.

It’s the cyclone which allows for the odd coloration. The winds carry specific gasses far higher into the atmosphere than anywhere else on Jupiter. These gasses are then exposed to the sun’s harsh solar radiation. The end effect is that the gasses which are pushed into the upper atmosphere are essentially dyed red by the sun. Or as some have jokingly phrased it, that part of Jupiter’s sky has a sunburn.

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