金沙城:Jupiter's third red spot torn apart by siblings

时间:2017-09-23 06:01:01166网络整理admin

By Rachel Courtland (Image: NASA/ESA/M Wong/I de Pater/University of California, Berkeley) See also: Third red spot erupts on Jupiter Jupiter’s third giant red storm has been chewed up by a collision with the planet’s other two red spots and does not appear to have survived. Astronomers are still scrambling to capture pictures of the aftermath, but it appears Jupiter’s third spot was torn up last week when it squeezed between its larger cousins, the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Junior. The third spot first appeared earlier this year when a white storm turned scarlet. On Wednesday, traces of clumpy red material seemed to have survived, although “it’s not really a spot any more”, Glenn Orton at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, said. “It’s just sort of scrambled. It’s a blob.” But by Thursday, the spot seemed to have been swollowed up by the Great Red Spot. “The LRS [Little Red Spot] is really gone,” Christopher Go, an amateur astronomer in Cebu, the Philippines, told New Scientist. Amateur astronomers broke the news of the spot’s stormy dismemberment online (scroll down for images taken by Go). The spot’s encounter with its big brothers began around 3 July and seems to have been drawn out for several days. Jupiter’s spots are actually massive, hurricane-like storms. The Great Red Spot, which is three times the diameter of Earth, has been raging for at least 340 years. Red Spot Jr, also known as Oval BA, turned red in 2006. No one knows for sure what gives the three spots their red colour. But one theory is that especially violent storms dredge up material from deeper in Jupiter’s atmosphere, such as phosphorus-containing molecules. When exposed to sunlight, chemical reactions then turn these molecules red. The third red spot had been moving toward the Great Red Spot, but its ill-fated positioning between the two other spots came as a surprise. “I didn’t think it would get mashed between two of the largest storms in the solar system,” Orton told New Scientist. “That’s not something anyone anticipated.” Watching the area in the coming days could give astronomers an indication of the power of the storms’ vortices and reveal more about how far down into the atmosphere these storms reach. Because of Jupiter’s position in the sky, the Hubble Space Telescope was unable to snap pictures of the spot’s encounter with its older brothers. The planet was not visible from 29 June to 7 July,