Jupiter is the “Big Mac” of the solar system’s planets, both in volume and mass. Although many probes have already flown over Jupiter, the oil-like gas planet is still covered in layers of mystery. In addition to the stunning red and white strips, Jupiter’s most striking is the Great Red Spot. The Great Red Spot is elliptical, like a giant gem set between Jupiter’s atmospheric cloud belt, according to photos sent back by the Juno Jupiter probe.
The Great Red Spot is like a birthmark of Jupiter. Since it was discovered by astronomer Cassini in 1665, the Great Red Spot has been known to humans for more than 300 years, and its continuous observations of the Great Red Spot have been more than 100 years long. According to historical observations, the Great Red Spot is shrinking, its shape is becoming rounder, and its color changes over time.
In the face of the change of the Great Red Spot, some scholars have suggested that the Great Red Spot will eventually disappear. Is it true?
Colorful anti-cyclone storms
Before you do that, find out what the big red spot is.
Jupiter is like a planet wrapped in rainbow strips, caused by differences in the thickness and height of the ammonia ice cloud on Jupiter, and also due to differences in atmospheric pressure. If Jupiter is seen as a palette, the “pigment” on its body flows as Jupiter turns itself, changing every moment, creating a unique oil painting.
In this painting, the great red spot is unique and dazzling. It is ovoid, about 2.6 x 104 kilometers long, and about 1.2 x 104 kilometers north-south, about 22 degrees south of Jupiter’s equator. Data show that the initial coverage of the Great Red Spot is large enough to swallow 2-3 Earth.
Jupiter is also known as the storm’s garden due to huge storms and rough air currents on the surface. The Great Red Spot is a violent anti-cyclone (high pressure) storm. The storm rotates at high speed in a counterclockwise direction, and about six Earths turn around every day. It is sometimes bright, bright and bright red, sometimes light, pink, and even completely faded.
How did this unique storm come about?
“The Great Red Spot, like other vortexes on Jupiter’s surface, is driven by a heat stream emitted from inside Jupiter and is formed by a powerful geo-bias (Coriolis force). But their vortex intensity differs from the depth stoic depth that enters Jupiter. Kong, a researcher at the Shanghai Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Science and Technology Daily that the Great Red Spot is related to Jupiter’s internal heat flow.
Jupiter has a large red spot and white spot, what is the difference between the two? Kong vigorously explained that the wind speed inside the Great Red Spot is high, the entire vortex may “root” hundreds of kilometers downwards, so its presence is more stable. Many other white spots on Jupiter have lower wind speeds, exist in the upper atmosphere, and have not extended much downwards.
“The red and white regions on Jupiter reflect the difference in temperature. Kong strongly said, “White area temperature is low, ammonia and other components will exist in the form of ice crystals, so the albedo is strong, shown as white, while the red area temperature is higher, the presence form is gas, so the albedo is reduced, the color is dim red.” “
Some have flirted trying to understand whether Jupiter’s internal heat stream produces white or red spots, as difficult as trying to predict what pattern it would produce when cream is poured into a cup of hot coffee.
Red cloud peeling may be a natural state
Light and shade are easy to die, face easy old, big red spot is also in the years of the circulation of quietly change.
One hundred years ago, the Great Red Spot was about 40,000 kilometers in diameter, and now it is only about half that. Astronomers say the Great Red Spot has lost about 15 percent of its total size in the past decade or so. If so, by 2040, the oval’s big red spot may become round.
Faced with the trend of “slimming down” and becoming round, some researchers have asked: Will the red spot disappear? Those who believe the Great Red Spot will disappear point out that some unknown activity in Jupiter’s atmosphere may be consuming the energy of the Great Red Spot, making it smaller and smaller.
Based on previously sent photos of the Great Red Spot, the scientists found that there was a phenomenon of red matter peeling off the great red spot. In the spring of 2019, some observers also captured the sight of the Big Red Spot “tearing off” the red “thin sheet”. Some have speculated that this is a sign of the disappearance of the Great Red Spot.
However, according to Philip Marcus of the University of California, Berkeley, the red spot itself is covered with clouds, a natural state of vortex, not a sign of the death of the Great Red Spot.
“The red cloud peeling can be understood as a higher-temperature mass of gas leaving the Great Red Spot. The recently observed red cloud peeling should be the result of normal vortex interactions. Kong also strongly also said that the Great Red Spot is an anti-cyclone, when a small cyclone near it, it will cause some of the outer parts of the Great Red Spot to leave the Great Red Spot, “and, this encounter and effect may occur frequently.”
Hassanzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth and Planetary Scienceat at Harvard University, has said many factors could weaken the great red spot. For example, the large red spot itself radiates heat outwards, and the small vortex around it also affects the big red spot.
Other researchers have pointed out that the Great Red Spot generates energy and prolongs life by swallowing the surrounding vortex. Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has said that some small vortexes are constantly coming into the big red spots. Simon believes that these small vortexes may be the cause of changes in the internal power and energy of the Great Red Spot.
Kong vigorously admitted that the scale of the great red spot itself is much larger than other vortex, the impact of ordinary vortex on the great red spot is difficult to fundamentally change the dynamic properties and shape of the great red spot. Hassanzadeh also believes that the phenomenon of the large red spot swallowing the small vortex is not enough to explain why the great red spot can live so long.
Vertical vortex or key factor
In fact, astronomers aren’t sure whether the great red spot’s presence is temporary or permanent.
“According to current theory, the Great Red Spot may have long since disappeared. However, it has existed for hundreds of years. Hassanzadeh said.
To explore the mysteries of the longevity of the Great Red Spot, Hassanzadeh and Marcus built their own models. Unlike other models, their models are completely three-dimensional and have a high resolution. Most importantly, unlike most models, which focus only on horizontal flow vortex, Marcus’ team’s model incorporates verticalflow vortex into the model construction.
“In the past, researchers thought vertical vortex was not important and ignored it, or used simpler equations because it was too difficult to model,” Hassanzad said. “
They then found that vertical vortex may be the key to uncovering the mystery of the longevity of the Great Red Spot. When the great red spot loses energy, the hot gas above the vertical vortex and the cold gas below it flows to the center to restore some of its lost energy.
According to Hassanzadeh, similar vertical vortexes can be used to explain why ocean current vortex near the Strait of Gibraltar lasts for several years, i.e. vertical currents send nutrients to the surface of the ocean and then play a role in marine ecosystems.
Although there is plenty of graphic evidence that the great red spot is shrinking. But the researchers say there is no direct evidence that the size or intensity of the great red-spot vortex itself has changed.
“The question of whether the great red spot will disappear is difficult to answer. Kong strongly emphasizes that “because the great red spot is driven by internal heat flow, the root cause of its disappearance is the change in the heat flow that radiates from within the world.” The change is caused by a change in the motion of Jupiter’s deeper fluid, which can take a long time. “
“Another condition that affects the great red spot is the interaction between the vortex. The fall of the so-called Great Red Spot Red Substance is due to the effects of the vortex near it. However, from the existing theoretical analysis and numerical simulation, the great red spot in the action of other vortex is still relatively stable. Kong strongly stressed that the great red spot will eventually disappear, may still be driven by the fundamental factors of the great red spot, that is, the internal heat flow to determine.
It is worth mentioning that previous ground observations of the Great Red Spot were limited to changes in color, shape and position. Analysis of the subtle structure of the Great Red Spot has become possible since the Pioneers 10 and 11, as well as Voyager 1 and 2, flew over Jupiter and obtained close-up observations. The researchers also hope that the Hubble Space Telescope could help solve more jupiters.