July 1, 2024 / Modified jul 2, 2024 9:59 a.m.

New findings about Jupiter revolve around Great Red Spot

Data from James Webb Space Telescope adds to giant planet's mystery.

James Webb Jupiter New observations of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter have revealed that the planet’s atmosphere above and around the infamous storm is surprisingly interesting and active. This graphic shows the region observed by Webb — first its location on a NIRCam image of the whole planet (left), and the region itself (right), imaged by Webb’s Near-InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec).
ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, Jupiter ERS Team, J. Schmidt, H. Melin, M. Zamani (ESA/Webb)

The University of Arizona-backed James Webb Space Telescope is bringing scientists new information about one of the solar system's most fascinating features.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot has amazed scientists since the 17th century. UA planetary scientist Bill Hubbard describes it as a high-pressure system in the giant planet's cloud deck that observers have watched grow and shrink over the last several decades.

"It's a semi-permanent feature of Jupiter but it definitely changes over time," he said. "It's still a mystery as to what it is."

A recently-published article using data collected by the Webb telescope notes the discovery of what scientists think are gravity waves in the region of the Great Red Spot.

The most recent images have also shown the Great Red Spot isn't as big as it used to be. Observers say it was once the size of 3 Earths put together. Now it can barely fit one.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona