Scientists say that color of Jupiter, as well as their change allow to determine the processes taking place in a stormy atmosphere.
One new key to the shrinking-spot puzzle could be the color intensity of the clouds that Hubble spotted in its fresh image, which was obtained on June 27.
Jupiter's bands, which are developed by differences in thickness and height of ammonia ice clouds, are confined to the north and south by jet streams that don't change, even if the bands start to vary in color. Astronomers are still unsure of why cloud bands change colors or why storms become smaller, however, a new Hubble Space Telescope portrait gives a close-up look at Jupiter's unpredictable atmosphere and might provide some insights on the planet's dynamic activity.
The Great Red Spot storm, which has lasted 150 years that we know of, is continuing to shrink - but astronomers don't know why. It was taken as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy Program, which aims to showcase yearly photos of other planets to monitor changes in their atmospheric features. And, surprisingly, Red Spot Jr., a planet that was red the last time it was photographed, has turned white.
The Great Red Spot is a towering structure shaped like a wedding cake, whose upper haze layer extends more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) higher than clouds in other areas. The reason for this is still unknown so Hubble will continue to observe Jupiter in the hope that scientists will be able to solve this stormy riddle.
The Great Red Spot itself churns along counterclockwise between two cloud bands, with each band moving in opposite directions above and below the hurricane.
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"A worm-shaped feature located below the Great Red Spot is a cyclone, a vortex spinning in the opposite direction to that in which the giant storm spins".
The Hubble image also highlights Jupiter's distinct parallel cloud bands.
"Researchers have observed cyclones with a wide variety of different appearances across the planet", the agency added.
"The white clouds to the left (southwest) of the storm are moving eastward to the south of the spot".
The rapid winds separating these clouds can reach 403 miles per hour.