Scientists find persistent cold spot on Jupiter

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In reviewing data for the past fifteen years have scientists have identified an unexpected cold region in Jupiter’s upper mid-latitudes as large as the Great Red Spot.

“The Great Cold Spot is much more volatile than the slowly changing Great Red Spot, changing dramatically in shape and size over only a few days and weeks, but it has re-appeared for as long as we have data to search for it, for over 15 years,” Stallard said. “That suggests that it continually reforms itself, and as a result it might be as old as the aurorae that form it – perhaps many thousands of years old.”

The Great Cold Spot is thought to be caused by the effects of the magnetic field of the planet, with the massive planet’s spectacular polar aurorae driving energy into the atmosphere in the form of heat flowing around the planet.

Though they think the cold region is related to the aurora, I suspect they really do not have enough information to really understand what is going on.


One comment

  • Max

    They think the cold spot it’s related to the Aurora? That caused me to laugh out loud. The doublespeak here astounds me. Does the Aurora cause heat that surrounds the planet? Or does it cause cold spots? They truly do not know. Does the Aurora over earth cause our pole to be cold? Or does that heat it and melt the ice? Neither. The aurora over Jupiter happens at such a height that the heat never reaches the cloud layer, just as it occurs in the stratosphere of earth.
    An area 200 K cooler (360°F) is a very large difference. Then you consider we are talking about a temperature range between 800°F to 1,340°F in the outer atmosphere of Jupiter. (Mercury reaches a maximum of 800° At .4 AU from the sun, Jupiter is five AU from the sun)
    I would also point out in their models that the equator is as dark as the reoccurring cold spot. I would like to see an explanation for the central belt being extremely cold. (only 800°F)
    I’m sure there’s a joke here in reference to the mystical magical greenhouse effect…

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