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Jupiter Gets New Red Spot 141

Posted by Zonk
from the presents-for-planets dept.
saskboy writes "The planet Jupiter is growing a new red spot. Jupiter is already well known for its Great Red Spot storm which is visible through modest backyard telescopes, so it will be interesting if this newer spot sticks around and grows. From the article: 'The official name of this storm is Oval BA, but Red Jr. might be better. It's about half the size of the famous Great Red Spot and almost exactly the same color. Oval BA first appeared in the year 2000 when three smaller spots collided and merged. A similar merger centuries ago may have created the original Great Red Spot, a storm twice as wide as our planet and at least 300 years old.'"
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Jupiter Gets New Red Spot

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  • So the huge pie-faced planet gets another zit... Maybe it should cut back on the Doritos and Mountain Dew.
  • Are these red spots contagious ?
    • I personaly blame the ter-rihsts. We should launch operation free the red spot from the ter-rihsts at once.
    • Are these red spots contagious?

      No, these are common when gas giants go through puberty.
  • First one communist spot appears. Now, 300 years later, another one! At this rate, all of Jupiter will be communist in less than 40,000 years.

    It's up to us to rescue them. Thinking of the millions of innocent Jovians rotting away in their oppressive gaseous Gulags...

    • No 30 years ago these where communist, now they are terrorist training camps.

      There must a preemptive strike or they will surely destroy our civilization. Those alien terrorist just hate us because our planet is blue.
    • I knew it, a classic case of "red shift". Tends to happen in those large, cold countries and planets. I bet one day they'll take over Mars (already the red planet), and then build a giant wall inside the asteroid belt too, to keep out people from the "blue planet". How long again before Jupiter completes another revolution?
  • GW (Score:5, Funny)

    by addaon (41825) <addaon+slashdot@ ... m minus caffeine> on Saturday March 04, 2006 @01:57AM (#14848791)
    Just try to deny global warming now, Republicans! We have proof!
    • Re:GW (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think before we panic we should all stop to realize that this is part of a continuous process of change where red spots are continuously created and destroyed on Jupiter all the time!
      Oh well I suppose a spot will disappear next week ho hum no news here.
      • by jcr (53032)
        I think before we panic we should all stop to realize that this is part of a continuous process of change where red spots are continuously created and destroyed on Jupiter all the time!

        NO! No, it's not! There's been just one spot on Jupiter as long as anyone can remember, and this new one MUST be GWB's fault!

        -jcr
        • by rspress (623984)
          One thing the mars rovers have proved that mars is warming as well.

          I like what Dennis Miller said about global warming. "I am supposed believe the temperature readings from a hundred years ago? Hell we were still crapping outdoors."
          • I like what Dennis Miller said about global warming. "I am supposed believe the temperature readings from a hundred years ago? Hell we were still crapping outdoors."

            Dennis Miller says a lot of dumb things all the time, "people", but that has to be the dumbest Dennis Miller quote ever. Although I may be wrong since I missed his brief career on Monday night football.
            • by rspress (623984)
              How come the left thought he was great and a thinking mans comic, then when came out as republican they can't say enough bad things about him?

              • Every religion needs to demonize it's heretics.

                I always thought he was more libertarian than anything else. He's on board with killing terrorists over there, though.

                • by rspress (623984)
                  This is true. I always liked him no matter what his politics are. That is true for a lot of people I like. I enjoy their craft but not their politics. The only one I really hold their politics against them is Barbra Streisand. Always hated her, always will.

                  I just checked out her site and she is bitching about the port deal. That was posted before it was known that her honey, Bill Clinton, was a major force behind it. I wonder if she will change her tune now.

                  I think the port deal sucks....no matter who came
              • Because, as a republican, his comedy has changed from intelligent to idiotic. Rather than thoughtful jokes and lampooning of the left, he makes idiot comments like the one quoted. Hell, he spends half his time making pandering, transparently "patriotic" comments in order to rile up the audience and get cheap laughs. Comments like turning Iraq into a sheet of glass ring a bell.

                It's sad. I think there was a time he was an intelligent comic. But those days are long past.
  • by DoctorHibbert (610548) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @01:58AM (#14848793)
    It was funny in my head.
  • Is it ill? (Score:3, Funny)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:01AM (#14848799) Homepage Journal
    Is Jupiter too old to have a case of measles?
  • by Biomechanical (829805) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:01AM (#14848800) Homepage

    ...To hear that the red spot has started going black, and then I'll just sit and smile when all the hardcore rightwing religious nuts freak out at a second sun soon after. :)

    A boy can dream...

  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@gmail.HORSEcom minus herbivore> on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:04AM (#14848802)
    It's time for the Sun to sit down and have the old birds/bees chat with Jupiter. The planet will start going through some big changes these next few millenia. The fraction of helium in the atmosphere will drop significantly. Its albedo will grow wildly. New rings will start appearing at odd angles. It's nothing to be ashamed of... all gas giants go through this phase of development.
  • Oh no! (Score:3, Funny)

    by clockmaker (626182) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:10AM (#14848819)
    The monoliths [imdb.com] are multiplying!
  • Global Warming? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:15AM (#14848834) Journal
    I remember reading some time ago that they've discovered ice on Mars, and that the amount of ice at the poles shrinks every year, indicating global warming.

    Now, Jupiter has this new storm that's beginning to rival the classic Red Spot. Is this more sign of a warming solar trend?

    • Yeah. Obviously our sun is burning hotter than ever. That or it just remembered that it's heat has to go somewhere, and it's a lot easier to heat up a small planet than all of the universe, so it's sending it in our direction. We're just hoping that we'll have interstellar travel figured out before we get properly roasted, so we can go take over Mars or something, which should be nice and hospitable by then.
      • Re:Global Warming? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122)
        Actually, the sun IS burning hotter currently. AND we know that it varies in cycles. For instance, the 22 year sunspot cycle is one cycle of varying solar constant. Why assume that other cycles are not also superposed?
        • Aren't we in the cooler part of that cycle? This is why its surprising that last year was the warmest on record, because it was supposed to be a cold year. Yeah we are in the warmer part of the ice age cycle, but its been that way for the entire human history.
          • yes, however 1) my original post was that the 11-year (22 magnetic) cycle is not the ONLY cycle to be concerned with and 2) thermal "capacitance" demands that there be some phase difference between solar output and earthly temperatures.
    • Now, Jupiter has this new storm that's beginning to rival the classic Red Spot. Is this more sign of a warming solar trend?

      It's those two damn SUV's that NASA has running around Mars! Everyone who watches TV knows that SUV's are the only thing that can cause Global Warming! They are exporting our Global Warming to Mars!
  • Excellent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:18AM (#14848843)
    This is excellent, because the Great Red Spot has become less great and less red over recent years. When I first spotted it through a scope, it was a pretty impressive sight. Lately it has changed to become a less intense colour, leading some observers to give it names like "the Great Salmon Spot" or the "Great Brownish Smudge". It is also shrinking - being half the size it was 100 years ago.

    The creation of new spots has been predicted (as part of the rapid "climate change" that has been affecting Jupiter over the past few years) and is all probably cyclical, but I was somehow excited by reading this news.
    • This is excellent, because the Great Red Spot has become less great and less red over recent years.

      Part of this is due to the fact that it is inside of darkish cloud bands, whereas in the 70's it was surrounded by mostly white clouds. Thus, it stands out less now.
               
  • Advice: (Score:4, Funny)

    by Quaoar (614366) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:25AM (#14848855)
    I wouldn't hang out with Jupiter for a while...it's "that time" of the millennium, and its a little cranky...
  • These spots have been reclassified. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • Atmosphere probe? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:42AM (#14848893) Homepage Journal

    The article doesn't say much about what is causing these huge weather patterns to be so stable on Jupiter, and the reason is that we actually know very little about what goes on underneath the outer layers of cloud.

    Our one and only atmosphere probe was a surprising success, but it was not built to last. A different probe, supported by a balloon rather than a parachute, was flown on venus and it worked well.

    I think it is time to have another go at a jupiter atmosphere probe. This time try for a hot hydrogen balloon, heated by an RTG. If we don't do the basic research we will never understand the biggest planet in our solar system.

    • We'll have to leave that to the europeans or the chinese, because unless it can be commercially exploited america just isn't interested anymore. I for one can't imagine anything more interesting than pushing the boundaries of our scientific knowledge, but alas I seem to be of a dying breed.

      I think your idea is great, though. Getting there is the hard part, so we should send multiple probes. Also, multiple points of data collection will give us more information on what is going on.
      • How is the US "commercially exploiting" a trip to Pluto with New Horizons, then?
        • I also want to know how the US is "commercially exploiting" the two mars rovers which went 2 years past their intended length of time.
          • by jrockway (229604) *
            How? After we Americans finish crapping up this planet with Hummer exhaust and soda cans, we're going to need a new planet to destroy... erm... live on. (Mars is the closest, and it has a hard outer shell suitable for drilling oil, so it's a good candidate for Earth's replacement. Plus the atmosphere doesn't melt lead.)

            Actually, I'm surprised the politicians didn't pick Jupiter -- it's the only thing in the solar system that's more "full of hot air" than them!
    • I saw a documentary on chaos theory around the time James Gleick's book on the subject came out and this was something they addressed. These researches set two cylinders inside each other and poured colored liquid with particles in it between them. Then they rotated the other cylinder at different speeds. Quite surprisingly at some speed - which of course I can't remember - a steady spot appeared and travelled around, very much like what we see in Jupiter today.

      This was yet another example how chaos sometim
      • Quite surprisingly at some speed - which of course I can't remember - a steady spot appeared and travelled around, very much like what we see in Jupiter today.

        I wonder what happens [wikipedia.org] when you have more than one spot?

        Sorry for the diversion, your description of the experiment reminded me of Sagan's machine.

    • This [nasa.gov] is a decent summary.

      I think it is time to have another go at a jupiter atmosphere probe. This time try for a hot hydrogen balloon, heated by an RTG. If we don't do the basic research we will never understand the biggest planet in our solar system.

      Of all of the interesting phenomena in the outer solar system I'd say further investigation of Jupiter's atmosphere is down the list. Some missions of greater interest:

      • Neptune/Triton orbiter
      • Titan rover
      • Asteroid sample return
      • Europa orbiter/lander
      • "Titan rover"

        I think a balloon might work better there as well. As I understand it, the weather on Titan isn't that active compared to Mars or Earth. With the low gravity and thick atmosphere, a balloon probe could cover a lot more territory and probably still set down on the ground for samples sometimes.
        • I agree. NASA might even consider something like this [aviationnow.com]. The Huygen's descent images were so familiar in a way it is easy to forget what a weird place Titan is.

          • "NASA might even consider something like this."

            That seems more complicated than necessary. It could simply heat and cool the balloon to alter its buoyancy, as it would have to have radioisotopes for heating and electricity anyway.
        • Re:Atmosphere probe? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DerWulf (782458)
          This might be a little off-topic but I'd be glad if somebody cleared that up for me:

          Mars' gravity: 0.376G (Wikipedia)
          Titans' gravity: 0.14G (Wikipedia)

          Mars' atmospheric pressure: around 75% of earths
          Titans' atmospheric pressure: around 150% of earths

          Now, I've always thought that Mars was so cold because the atmosphere was too thin to "hold back the heat". Also, I've been told that Mars atmosphere was thin as it is because Mars gravity was too low to prevent atmosphere to escape into space. Now how c
          • "Mars' atmospheric pressure: around 75% of earths"

            No. Mars's average surface pressure is about 7 millibars, compared to about 1000 millibars on Earth. That's not 75%, maybe 0.75%, so Titan's atmosphere would be 200 times thicker.

            "Now, I've always thought that Mars was so cold because the atmosphere was too thin to "hold back the heat"."

            It's also farther from the sun than we are.

            "Also, I've been told that Mars atmosphere was thin as it is because Mars gravity was too low to prevent atmosphere to escape into
            • Re:Atmosphere probe? (Score:3, Informative)

              by Shadowmist (57488)
              One of the key differences is temperature. If Titan were placed in Earth orbit the situation would be dramatically different, the atmosphere and probably a good deal of Titan itself would evaporate and be blown away. However out by Saturn way, the mean temperature is what we call in the technical sense cold.

              Also, Titan's orbit is filled by a toroidal cloud of hydrogen much of what does escape is reabsorbed by the moon itself. Sky and Telescope had a good article about it a decade or two ago.

              A bit of Ear
          • Also, I've been told that Mars atmosphere was thin as it is because Mars gravity was too low to prevent atmosphere to escape into space.

            In case you're still wondering, Mars has lost most of its magnetic field, which protects against loss of atmosphere caused by solar wind.

  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @02:46AM (#14848897)
    After all, he is right next to that slut Saturn.
  • by gbobeck (926553) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @03:08AM (#14848933) Homepage Journal
    "...a storm twice as wide as our planet and at least 300 years old."


    Sounds like the typical Chicago winter...
  • Now all we have to do is send a HAL 9000 over there to investigate.
  • The planet Jupiter is growing a new red spot.

    Is it full of stars?
  • by ilmdba (84076)
    yeah but is it shrinking?
  • by jiawen (693693)
    I just watched 2010 tonight... Strange synergy.
  • Oval BA first appeared in the year 2000 when three smaller spots collided and merged.

    That would make this article six years late?
  • by kars (100858)
    *points*
    Jupiter's got a hicky, Jupiter's got a hicky!
  • And... (Score:2, Funny)

    by danwesnor (896499)
    Meanwhile, back at home, Earth scientists are busy building plausible explanations as to how fossil fuel loving Republicans are behind this major environmental ship on our solar system's largest planet.
  • Life on Jupiter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BRUTICUS (325520)
    I've always wondered why a planet like Jupiter couldn't harvest life. I mean, why couldn't another type of life with other needs arise. Why couldn't liquid hydrogen, helium or ice be a source of energy for another lifeform. Plants on earth don't need oxygen.
    • Re:Life on Jupiter? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Saturday March 04, 2006 @11:16AM (#14850049)
      Raw hydrogen needs to react with something to generate energy. And react it does! You'll almost never find pure hydrogen available except in an environment where it's very hot and breaks down chemicals, or where there's nothing else to combine with (such as the Sun itself). Raw helium reacts with nothing: it's a noble gas, and you can't harvest energy from chemical interactions with it because there are so few that occur. Ice is cold water: the energy available from it was the result of hydrogen combining with oxygen, which released a lot of energy but makes it tough to get any more energy out of it now that it's already turned into water.

      Now, there are levels of Jupiter's atmosphere where more complex and useful molecules are likely, due to pressure and lots of available components. Methane, for example, or other useful hydrocarbons that would have some energy to release and could be used for fuel in various interactions should be quite popular at some levels of that very deep atmosphere. And there are some fascinating proposals for how life could eveolve there. But please actually look them up, and maybe take a basic chemistry course to learn about what "using something for energy" means about the chemicals involved.
    • Jupiter is vast and im fairly sure the extreme levels of preasure would destroy anything that tried to live on it or in its gasses.

      Also Plants do need oxygen. Just because they thrive on CO2 doesnt mean they dont also utilise Oxygen as well.
  • All your red spots are belong to us.
  • I always said it was an alien armada, now they are building a second ginormous space station. think how much power you could generate from windmills in the upper atmosphere !
  • Why red? Curiously, no one knows precisely why the Great Red Spot itself is red.
    FROM THE BLOOD OF THOES WHO IT HAS SLAIN!!!!!
  • A dyslexic journey.

    It was one of Slackwares fortunes sometime last week. :)
  • My girlfriend has one of these about once a month...

    Uhh...err...wait... ok... I admit it... my "imaginary girlfriend" :-(
  • this is probably gonna sound overly sentimental ans stupid. but if the great red spot were to ever disappear during my lifetime i'd probably cry =(. i think it's awesome and i don't want it to ever go away.

    i say more awesome spots for jupiter.
  • No doubt due to global warming, and we're responsible..

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