Hubble Captures New Changes in Jupiter's Great Red Spot

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Hubble Captures New Changes in Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Post by bystander » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:23 pm

Hubble's Planetary Portrait Captures New Changes in Jupiter's Great Red Spot
NASA GSFC | STScI HubbleSite | 2015 Oct 13
[img3="Jupiter Global Maps from Hubble's OPAL Program - Credit: NASA, ESA,
A. Simon (GSFC), M. Wong (UC Berkeley), and G. Orton (JPL-Caltech)
"] ... _print.jpg[/img3][hr][/hr]
Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have produced new maps of Jupiter — the first in a series of annual portraits of the solar system's outer planets.

Collecting these yearly images — essentially the planetary version of annual school picture days for children — will help current and future scientists see how these giant worlds change over time. The observations are designed to capture a broad range of features, including winds, clouds, storms and atmospheric chemistry.

Already, the Jupiter images have revealed a rare wave just north of the planet's equator and a unique filamentary feature in the core of the Great Red Spot not seen previously.

"Every time we look at Jupiter, we get tantalizing hints that something really exciting is going on," said Amy Simon, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "This time is no exception."

Simon and her colleagues produced two global maps of Jupiter from observations made using Hubble's high-performance Wide Field Camera 3. The two maps represent nearly back-to-back rotations of the planet, making it possible to determine the speeds of Jupiter's winds. The findings are described in an Astrophysical Journal paper, available online.

The new images confirm that the Great Red Spot continues to shrink and become more circular, as it has been doing for years. The long axis of this characteristic storm is about 150 miles (240 kilometers) shorter now than it was in 2014. Recently, the storm had been shrinking at a faster-than-usual rate, but the latest change is consistent with the long-term trend. ...

Hubble’s planetary portrait captures changes in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot
ESA Hubble Photo Release | 2015 Oct 13

First results from the Hubble OPAL program: Jupiter in 2015 - Amy A. Simon, Michael H. Wong, Glenn S. Orton
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