Only Two Months Old, Jupiter's Third Red Spot Bites the Dust

By Andrew Moseman | July 10, 2008 3:01 pm

Jupiter’s three red sports, which are actually giant gas stormsWell, that was a short run.

In May, astronomers noticed that a third red spot had showed up on Jupiter near the famous Great Red Spot and Red Spot Junior, which itself had appeared just two years ago. The third spot—actually an earth-sized storm of swirling gases—had been white, but then showed up as being red in Hubble Space Telescope images.

Now, NASA scientists say, the youngest spot was torn apart after it tried to pass between its two big brothers. Jupiter’s position in the sky prevented astronomers from seeing the spot in the days before July 7, so they couldn’t watch the its destruction. So they’re left trying to take photos of the aftermath.

NASA’s Glenn Orton says the organization will release new photos on July 17, New Scientist reports, which might help to show the third spot’s fate—that is, whether the other two will swallow it up, or whether the leftovers of the little storm will reform.

Image: NASA/ESA/M Wong/I de Pater/University of California, Berkeley

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Aliens Therefrom
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