New data that tracks the changes to Jupiter's Great Red Spot is showing that while it is shrinking, the storm is growing taller on the planet. Another observation of the Great Red Spot was that it has also been changing colors to resemble orange instead of red.
Jupiter's storm has been shrinking for a long time.
Great Red Spot Getting Taller
NASA released new data showing that Jupiter's Great Red Spot has been shrinking for the last century and a half. While it is shrinking, the storm is getting taller on Jupiter. The Great Red Spot was investigated since its official discovery in 1831, but there have been observations as early as 1665.
New research shows that it's been moving more towards the west of the planet. Studies show that the size was decreasing since 1878. It could once hold as many as three Earths inside, but no, it can only fit one Earth in it. During the 1920s, the storm grew briefly but hasn't grown since.
Since the storm has been contracting, this causes winds inside of the storm to become more powerful. This contraction causes it to stretch upwards. The smaller the area it covers on the surface, the taller the storm grows.
NASA compares the storm growing taller to someone shaping clay using a potter's wheel. Using the wheel's spin, the artist shapes a round lump into a thin vase by pushing on the lump. As the base gets smaller, the vase becomes taller.
Scientists still aren't sure how long it will be until the Great Red Spot disappears. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory currently gives the Great Red Spot a lifespan of 10 to 20 years before it disappears. It still isn't known if it will definitely keep shrinking but it wasn't in a period of growth in a long time.
Great Orange Spot?
Height isn't the only change occurring in the Great Red Spot. NASA researchers show that its color is changing to an orange since 2014. It still isn't known why the color change is occurring but there is a theory that as the chemicals that give the storm its color are being pushed higher into the atmosphere, it's being exposed to more UV radiation. This exposure is changing the color of the Great Red Spot.
Rick Cosentino, a co-author on the study about Jupiter, says that the next decade will show what will happen to the Great Red Spot. Changes may come more rapidly as the storm intensifies.