Jupiter's red spot reveals surprises

Scientists have been pondering why Jupiter has a big red spot on the side of its face.

While ruling out acne or stress, the boffins have always thought that it was a huge storm.

But according to Wired when they recently looked at the temperature maps it turned out that the red spot is one of the warmest places on the planet. The darkest red bit is where the life forms of Jupiter would go if they were looking for a nice winter break.

Of course the inhabitants of Jupiter have very low expectations when it comes to the idea of warm. “Warm” on Jupiter is -250 degrees Fahrenheit while cold is an even frostier -256 degrees F. So a bit like the people of Aberdeen optimistically going to Scunthorpe to get a tan.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory astronomer Glenn Orton, who led the new study to be published in the magazine Icarus, the difference is enough to create intriguing internal dynamics.

However it is getting smaller and it appears that the storm, which is the size of three earths will be over soon. Probably to be replaced with scattered showers and light winds.

Boffins originally thought that the red patch was caused by sulphur being tossed up in atmosphere.

But Orton’s research indicates it might be something more environmentally related. Perhaps thousands of Jupiter’s inhabitants turning red in the sun?