The Great Shrinking Red Spot

In the past, the planets weren’t really thought of as being dynamic.  It wasn’t until we had telescopes good enough and spacecraft traveling the solar system that we found how amazingly changeable the planets and moons really are.

Well, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter has been shrinking at a very fast rate lately.  It’s not really known why it’s happening, but it has shrunk by half in the past century.

You can see the changes in Jupiter's Great Red Spot in this sequence of pictures.
You can see the changes in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in this sequence of pictures.

It’ll be another two years until Juno arrives at Jupiter to study its atmosphere.  I think there’ll be some intense observations of the Great Red Spot.  Read here for some more information.

But Jupiter isn’t the only planet with a spot.  Neptune’s Great Dark Spot has actually disappeared.

The Great Dark Spot on Neptune may be a hole in the clouds, not a storm.
The Great Dark Spot on Neptune may be a hole in the clouds, not a storm.

But never fear, the Great Dark Spot has appeared again in the northern hemisphere.  It seems that these spots disappear regularly and another appears elsewhere on the planet.  They are certainly not permanent.  And neither is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

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