The "Evil Eye" of Jupiter stands out clearly against the rest of the giant planet.
Vast, oval-shaped red marking with its "wake" of counter-rotating vortices has puzzled astronomers for at least a century.
It's an extremely complicated feature, considered by many to be a permanent characteristic on the surface of either the solid body of
Jupiter or a solid shell comparable to the mantle of the Earth, surrounding a fluid core.
Jupiter's enormous frozen mass, most probably frozen gases, lies under a cloud cover consisting almost entirely of substances which
preclude the possibility of life - at least of life as we humans, know it.
Even in a very modest telescope it is visible as a disc with faint markings across it.
On nights when the air is clear and still it's possible to observe a spectacular phenomenon unseen anywhere else in the system - the Red Spot of Jupiter, the "Evil Eye".
The darkest red part of the spot turns out to be a warm patch inside the otherwise cold storm but the temperature variation is insignificant.
"Warm" means -250 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) while cold is -256 degrees F. Scientists do not know yet, what this difference really means.
The Great Red Spot near Jupiter's icy equator covers an area of approximately two hundred million square miles!
We can say that if the estimation is correct, it means that this single red feature on Jupiter is larger than all the continents on our planet combined!
North is at the top and the distance from top to bottom is about 24,000 km.
Note the puffy features inside the GRS, and the "reverse-S" spirals inside both the GRS and the oval.
The large white feature extending over the northern part of the GRS was
observed to revolve about the GRS center with a period of 6 days. Credits: Voyager 1-98/NASA/JPL
What does that bright red spot consist of?
Is it some kind of substance that has coagulated?
Or is it some strange extraterrestrial life-form thriving in Jupiter's bizarre atmosphere?
Commonly accepted theory is that the Red Spot it is a vast storm, spinning like a cyclone and rotating counterclockwise direction.
Observations of the behavior of the Jovian phenomenon from 1891 until 1957/58, showed its rotation periods and apparition has varied unexpectedly.
Strange Jupiter sounds as recorded by NASA's Voyager
B.M. Peek, a well-known amateur astronomer who served as President of the British Astronomical Association and on the Council of
The Royal Astronomical Society, at that time, investigated the strange behavior of Jupiter's Red Spot.
"It is difficult to resist the conclusion that some physical influence, which had been responsible for the correlation from 1891
onwards, ceased somewhat abruptly to operate about the year 1930…" Peek said.
Very similar changes were also recorded regarding the darkness and acceleration of the feature. Also, the clouds of the GRS have
It is possible that one day it will disappear forever.
What does manipulate the Red Spot?
Is it Jupiter's frigid atmosphere responsible for all varieties in its behavior? Or is something in Jupiter's sky responsible?
Why is the area in the center of the spot quiet, all the time?
Glenn Orton, a senior research scientist at NASA'S Jet Propulsion Laboratory investigates planetary atmospheres.
He says that since the 1870s, scientists have been studying the complexity of the GRS.
Now they begin to understand the weather patterns around the Great Red Spot, but not inside the mysterious feature.
The newest observations of the motion of the storm, conducted by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley,
showed that the feature shrank approximately 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) a day and lost 15 percent of its diameter between 1996 and 2006.
"We once thought the Great Red Spot was a plain old oval without much structure, but these new results show that it is, in fact, extremely complicated."
"This is the first time we can say that there's an intimate link between environmental conditions - temperature, winds,
pressure and composition - and the actual color of the Great Red Spot," Orton's collaborator, Leigh Fletcher, an Oxford astronomer added.
"Although we can speculate, we still don't know for sure which chemicals or processes are causing that deep red color,
but we do know now that it is related to changes in the environmental conditions right in the heart of the storm."
The enormous red, oval phenomenon remains fixed toward Earth, looking at us like an evil eye.
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Most Alien World We Can Only Imagine
This is not an alien world, anyone of us will ever be able to visit.
It's not very far away, only about 40 light years from Earth, but it circles dangerously close to a stellar inferno,
completing one orbit in only 18 hours. The alien planet named "55 Cancri e" is 26 times
closer to its parent star than Mercury is to the Sun. The temperature on the surface of 55 Cancri e is estimated to be as high as 2,700 degrees Celsius.
Auroras On Alien Worlds Can Be Stunningly Beautiful
Auroras on Earth are stunning to watch, but have you ever wondered what they might look like on other planets?
We took a journey to some alien worlds to find out what auroras look like there. There is no doubt that extraterrestrial
auroras can be very beautiful on other places in the Universe, and sometimes this light show can be very unique.
On Earth, an aurora is created when atoms in solar plasma interacts with atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere.
Black Plants Could Exist On Alien Worlds With Two Suns
We have previously seen what auroras might like on alien worlds.
This time we examine how life on planets in binary star systems can evolve.
Earth-like planets with two or three suns would have multiple sources of light that could be used for photosynthesis.
This means plants on such worlds could be dark, even completely black.
Warp-Speed Planets Are Some Of The Fastest Objects In The Milky Way
Warped planets are some of the fastest objects in the Milky Way and they zoom through space near the speed of light.
Some years ago astronomers were astonished when they they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour.
The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: If a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets?
Abnormal Star Discovered In The 'Forbidden Zone'
A team of astrophysicists from Germany, France and Italy have discovered in the constellation Leo is an old star.
The star's existence raised at once many questions for scientists.
The object is definitely not as its "contemporaries" that appeared immediately after the Big Bang event.
Though the universe is filled with billions upon billions of stars, the discovery of a single variable star in 1923 altered the
course of modern astronomy. And, at least one famous astronomer of the time lamented that the discovery had shattered his world view.
Watch Mars' Stunning 12-Mile Dust Devil In Action
Dust devils occur on Earth as well as on Mars.
They are spinning columns of air, made visible by the dust they pull off the ground.
Unlike a tornado, a dust devil typically forms on a clear day when the ground is heated by the sun, warming the air just above the ground...
Astronomical Mystery - Tremendous Explosion And Appearance Of Odd Rings
Twenty five years ago, on 1987 February 23, the brightest supernova of modern times was observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow.
Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash into previously expelled material...
Millennia Old Astronomical Secret Revealed
In 1943, an ancient papyrus was bought by the Cairo museum.
It was written in Hieratic and although portions of it were eaten away by ants, it was a very precious ancient document.
The papyrus contained three separate books dealing with astronomy. One of the books was the Cairo Calendar, and now it reveals an ancient astronomical secret...
The "Cloaked" Star Was Difficult To Find
An object obscured by dust, and buried in a two-star system enshrouded by dense gas, is not easy to find.
A "cloaked" star was discovered after it ate a little of its neighbor. The meal must have given the star a bit of indigestion, because it
"burped" with a blast of high-energy radiation, which gave it away.