Jupiter’s Great Red Spot: solar system’s largest planet so hot because of iconic spot - TomoNews SPACE — Mankind is beginning to unravel the mysteries of our solar system’s biggest planet, starting with its atmosphere.
Reuters reports that Jupiter’s atmosphere has roughly the same temperature as that of Earth, despite being fives times farther away from the sun.
Scientists have dubbed this the planet’s energy crisis, and have long been puzzled by this detail, until now. New research published in Nature has found that the mystery of Jupiter’s super-heated atmosphere is related to one of its most iconic features — the infamous great red spot.
The great red spot is a massive hurricane that has been raging for centuries. The diameter measures 10,000 miles, with winds of up to 400 miles per hour.
The atmospheric temperature in Jupiter generally reaches 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. But the area directly above great red spot is several hundred degrees hotter at 2,420 degrees.
These findings, made using an infrared telescope, suggests a link between the planet’s upper and lower atmospheres, despite being separated by a vertical distance of 500 miles.
The heat is likely caused by high-energy acoustic waves shooting up from the storm. The waves cause atoms in the air to move around, resulting in a raised temperature.
Scientists are still unsure about why the great spot is red, but NASA expects to gather more information from the Juno spacecraft, which is now in orbit around Jupiter.
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