Stories tagged The Great Red Spot

Jul
15
2008

Are we next?: No. Definitely not.
Are we next?: No. Definitely not.Courtesy NASA
Y’all know what “fratricide” is? It’s when a brother kills a brother. Or when a sister kills her brother. Or when a sister and a brother kill their brother. Any combination, really, involving a brother getting iced.

Well, it has happened on Jupiter. A little brother has been torn apart by his giant siblings. And by giant, I mean many times the size of earth.

The Great Red Spot is a huge hurricane-like storm on the surface of Jupiter. The storm has been spinning for several hundred years, and has a diameter about three times that of Earth. Also, it’s red.

The spot happens to have a couple of little brothers, too, named Red Spot Jr. (or Oval Ba, if you can’t get your head around having a little brother that’s your “Jr.”) and the Little Red Spot. Or, I should say, it had a couple of little brothers. Now it has a little brother, and some spare brother chunks. You see, Great Red Spot, and Red Spot Jr. tore Little Red Spot to shreds last week.

Officials are still baffled as to the motive, but what we know is this: LRS was strolling innocently through its neighborhood of Jupiter when it was ambushed from either side by GRS and RSJ. No weapons are thought to have been involved, ironically making the crime that much more brutal—the larger storms ripped their little brother apart with their own stormy hands, and when GRS and RSJ ran off, all that was left of LRS were sad little shreds.

The proximity of the incident has complicated investigation, to say the least, but I have my own theories. Red Spot Junior, as it happens, only recently earned its title—it was not until only two years ago that it actually turned red. I think that RSJ may have been long overdue to prove itself as a true red spot. Both intimidated and protected by its larger brother, RSJ was content to allow GRS to be the planet’s muscle. Over the months, however, I guess that RSJ’s desire to prove itself intensified, or that GRS tired of doing its little brother’s dirty work. Either way, the two larger spots turned their sites towards their small brother, always the “simplest” of the three. I think it’s very likely that GRS provided cover and just watched while RSJ did the butcher’s work, but the blood doesn’t stand out on its recently acquired coloring.

The red color of the spots, although no doubt symbolic of their bloodthirsty hearts, is not entirely understood. It’s thought that the color may come from material sucked from deep in the planet as the storms get stronger. Phosphorus-containing molecules, for instance would turn red when exposed to sunlight on the planet’s surface.

Astronomers the world over are reeling from the violent act.

Oct
11
2006

Jupiter: Courtesy: Wikipedia
Jupiter: Courtesy: Wikipedia
Jupiter: Courtesy: NASA
Jupiter: Courtesy: NASA

Oval BA, or more commonly recognized as the Little Red Spot of Red Spot Jr., has captured some scientists’ attention. Still wondering what Oval BA is? It is a fierce storm on the planet Jupiter. Oval BA is the little “brother” to the well-known Great Red Spot on Jupiter.

Jupiter facts

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and is the largest planet in our solar system. To give you an idea of how massive Jupiter is, one thousand planets the size of Earth could fit inside one Jupiter!

The Great Red Spot is a huge storm circulating counterclockwise in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Oval BA is about half the size of the Great Red Spot. Oval BA first appeared in 2000 when three smaller spots collided.

What is going on with Oval BA?

Recently the Hubble Space Telescope relayed information detailing Oval BA has changed and is becoming more like the Great Red Spot. A year ago, Oval BA was white. Currently it is a reddish hue matching that of its bigger counterpart. Oval BA has been clocked having 400 mile per hour winds.

Scientists speculate the little red spot has gained speed as well as strength as it has shrunk. Amy Simon-Miller, NASA planetary scientist, explained Oval BA picked up steam in the same fashion spinning figure skaters accelerate when they move their arms closer to their core. The reddish hue can be attributed to red material in the atmosphere-mostly sulfur.

Jupiter will be heading behind the sun out of Earth’s view until January. Scientists are expecting more noticeable changes when Jupiter comes back into view.

Until then, what do you think will happen to these two distinct storms? Do you think there will be a day when Oval BA and the Great Red Spot collide and create one massive storm?