Great Cold Spot: Another Great Spot Discovered On Jupiter

First Posted: Apr 12, 2017 04:02 AM EDT

Astronomers discovered a second Great Spot dubbed as the "Great Cold Spot" on the gas giant planet, Jupiter. It is about 24,000 km in longitude and 12,000 km in latitude.

The findings of the discovery were printed in Geophysical Research Letters on April 11, 2017. The study was led Dr. Tom Stallard, the lead author and the associate professor of Planetary Astronomy, according to

"This is the first time any weather feature in Jupiter's upper atmosphere has been observed away from the planet's bright aurorae," Dr. Stallard said. He further said that the newly discovered Great Cold Spot is much more precarious than the Great Red Spot that changes dramatically in shape and size for more than a few days and weeks.

On the other hand, it has reappeared as they have information to search for it for more than 15 years. This means that it frequently changes itself resulting in being as old as the aurorae that shape it probably in several thousands of years old, according to Dr. Stallard.

The scientists used the CRIRES instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile to identify the Great Cold Spot on Jupiter. They described the Great Cold Spot as dark areas in the environment of the upper atmosphere of Jupiter. It is approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) cooler than the other area in Jupiter's upper atmosphere, according to

The Great Cold spot is probably formed through the planet's auroras. In the new research, the auroras generate energy in the atmosphere of Jupiter that heats them up. As a result, there is a large inequality between the top atmospheres and below. This leads to lash the vortex in the atmosphere, thus produces a spot that is cooler than the surrounding areas. 

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