A Contrasting Spot on Jupiter


Staff Writer

On April 10th, an online report came out from the Geophysical Research Letters that identified a newly detected great mark on Jupiter. It was spotted in the northern aurora in the planet’s atmosphere, and it is believed that the spot is much more cold and is twice the size of Earth.

Coauthor Tom Stallard, who is a planetary scientist at the University of Leicester in England, stated, ¨We can’t be exactly sure how the spot forms. But we are sure it is there because we observed it numerous time.¨

The great spot was detected by a Chile telescope by Stallard and his colleagues. They were analyzing hydrogen ions and mapping the atmosphere of  jupiter when they noticed a sudden drop of 71 degrees celsius while the area around it remained the same temperature. Then, they went to compare the data with the NASA infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii. They discovered that the spot has actually been there for more than 15 years.

Also, another interesting thing that the group of scientists discovered is that the mark remains in the same spot, but changes from being a big spot to other sizes and shapes. Scientists theorize that this occurrence happens because of the abundance of energetic particles in the atmosphere from the Jovian moon showers which help generate the aurora.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler, a Planetary Science Institute researcher in Maine, is baffled by this phenomena because contrasted auroras in planetary systems usually disappear quickly. However, this has lasted for quite some time already. Scientists will continue to plunge into this phenomena to hopefully get some answers.

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