Jupiter’s storm is bigger than predicted and could ‘swallow Earth’ in one gulp
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Jupiter’s Great Red Spot — a storm that has been going on the planet for hundreds of years — is much bigger than previously estimated, according to Nasa scientists.
In fact, it's so big that it could swallow our home planet Earth in one single gulp.
New data from Nasa's Juno space probe has revealed that the massive storm on the gas giant is shaped like a pancake, and floats around at cloud level on the windy planet instead of going any further into its atmosphere.
This has challenged previous theories held by astronomers, who had thought that the spot could be interacting with the planet's surface.
It is about 10,000 miles wide and could potentially be formed by the rising of deeper gas, according to Scott Bolton, who lead one of the main recent studies into this incredible space phenomenon. He is also the principal investigator for Nasa's Juno mission.
Mr Bolton said: “It’s much, much wider than it is deep — it’s like a pancake to some extent."
“The surprising part was most of the models that people have played around with had it being much shallower.”
Timothy Dowling, a professor of dynamic meteorology at the University of Louisville, commented to NBC News: “The new Juno microwave and gravity data provide spectacular confirmation of two key discoveries made using Voyager data over a quarter-century ago”
He also said that there is no obvious reason why the strange weather pattern would come to an end, as it does not operate in the same way as storms on Earth.
He added: “It’s much simpler than a hurricane, and it has absolutely no reason to fall apart — it just goes on and on."
Jupiter itself has a diameter of about 90,000 miles, which is about 11 times wider than Earth. This means that the planet is so big that about 1,300 Earths could fit inside it.
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