This undated composite handout image provided by NASA shows the planet Jupiter and the The Great Red Spot in 2014, left; in 1995, top right; 2009, center right; and 2014, bottom right. Jupiters signature Great Red Spot is on a cosmic diet, shrinking rapidly before our eyes. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope calculate that the spot, a giant long-lasting storm, is narrowing by about 580 miles a year, much faster than before. In the late 1800s the red spot was an elongated oval 25,500 miles wide. Now its a svelte circle thats 10,250 miles across. (AP Photo/NASA)
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot rapidly shrinking
By SETH BORENSTEIN
| The Associated Press
First Published May 15 2014 01:56 pm • Last Updated May 15 2014 03:57 pm
Washington • Jupiter’s Great Red Spot seems to be on a cosmic diet, shrinking rapidly before our eyes.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope calculate that the spot, a giant long-lasting storm, is narrowing by about 580 miles a year, much faster than before.
In the late 1800s the red spot was an oval 25,500 miles wide. Now it’s a circle that’s 10,250 miles across.
Michael Wong, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the spot is a mystery. Astronomers don’t know why it’s red or shrinking, or what will happen next. If this pace continues, in 17 years the spot could be gone. Or it could stop at a smaller size.
Wong said one theory is the spot eats smaller storms, and that it is consuming fewer of them.
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