The Great Red Spot on Jupiter has been observed for over 150 years, and it doesn’t appear this anti-cyclonic storm is showing any signs of letting up. How does it maintain its power? Well, like a planetary Pac-Man, it “eats up” other storms, zapping them of their power. The sequence of images here from the Hubble Space Telescope shows three different storms on Jupiter: The Great Red Spot, Red Spot Jr. (otherwise known as Oval BA, to the south of GRS), and Baby Red Spot, to the left of GRS in the first two images. Baby got a little too close to big brother GRS, and may have been snuffed out. But GRS keeps on keeping on. These three natural-color Jupiter images were made from data acquired on May 15, June 28, and July 8, 2008, by the Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
Red Spot Jr. first appeared on Jupiter in early 2006 when a previously white storm turned red. This is the second time, since turning red, it has skirted past its big brother apparently unscathed. More on Jr. or Oval BA over at the BA himself, Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy.
But poor little Baby Red Spot, which is in the same latitudinal band as the GRS. This new red spot first appeared earlier this year. The baby spot gets ever closer to the GRS in this picture sequence until it is caught up in GRS’s anticyclonic spin. In the final image the baby spot is deformed and pale in color and has been spun to the right (east) of the GRS. The prediction is that the baby spot will now get pulled back into the GRS “Cuisinart” and disappear for good. This is one possible mechanism that has powered and sustained the GRS for at least 150 years.
Each image covers 58 degrees of Jovian latitude and 70 degrees of longitude (centered on 5 degrees South latitude and 110, 121, and 121.
Original News Source: HubbleSite