Jupiter’s Red Spot Rages On

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,151
    A new model is providing insight into Jupiter’s iconic storm known as the “Red Spot” that has lasted hundreds of years.

    How can a storm rage on for hundreds of years?  That’s what scientists at the University of California Berkeley are trying to explain.  Jupiter’s mysterious giant Red Spot is a storm that should have only last for a few decades but has survived for centuries.  Using a different kind of model from others, researchers found that vertical factors are behind the spot’s longevity.  As the vortex loses energy, a vertical stream sends hot gases from above and cold gases from below to the center of the vortex, restoring some of its lost energy.  They also found that high-speed jet streams bring in additional energy as they are drawn into the vortex.  Researchers admit these finds don’t completely explain the longevity, and that the assimilation of smaller vortices might also add to its lifespan.