NASA's Juno reveals facts about Jupiter's Red Spot storm

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NASA's Juno reveals facts about Jupiter's Red Spot storm (Image: Pixabay)
NASA's Juno reveals facts about Jupiter's Red Spot storm (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : With the latest data collected by NASA's Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter, a better understanding of the planet's atmosphere including giant red spot has been derived by the researchers.

The researchers have claimed that the Great Red Spot plunges between roughly 200 to 300 miles (350 to 500 km) below the cloud tops on Jupiter, based on microwave and gravity measurements obtained by Juno.

With the data collected, scientists understand the atmosphere of solar system's largest planet that is capable of holding over 1,000 earth-size planets inside it.

The planet, known as a gas giant, is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, with traces of other gases. Stripes and a few storms like the Great Red Spot dominate the colorful appearance of Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun with a diameter of about 88,850 miles (143,000 km).

The Great Red Spot is a storm roughly 10,000 miles (16,000 km) wide churning in Jupiter's southern hemisphere, boasting crimson-colored clouds that spin counterclockwise at high speeds.

"From a scientific point of view, it's puzzling how the storm can last so long and be so big," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission at the Southwest Research Institute in Texas and lead author on one of two Jupiter studies published in the journal Science on Thursday.

"It is wide enough to swallow the Earth," added Marzia Parisi, a Juno scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and lead author of the second study.

In earlier studies, it was revealed by Juno’s data that Jupiter’s jet stream reach down even further, to depths of about 2,000 miles (3,200 km). Comparing how storms act on planet earth, it was assumed that the Great Red Spot was a relatively shallow storm, Bolton said.

"Jupiter works in this mysterious way that we're sort of revealing for the first time - because this is the first mission that's been able to look inside the planet," Bolton added. "And we're seeing surprises."

Now, it is clear that Earth and Jupiter are two different worlds. While earth has more of rocky surface, Jupiter lacks it.

Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, obtaining information about its atmosphere, interior structure, internal magnetic field and the region around it created by its internal magnetism.