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Huge Storms Converge on Jupiter 205

tpoker writes to tell us NASA is reporting that the two biggest storms in the solar system are about to collide on Jupiter. From the article: "Storm #1 is the Great Red Spot, twice as wide as Earth itself, with winds blowing 350 mph. The behemoth has been spinning around Jupiter for hundreds of years. Storm #2 is Oval BA, also known as 'Red Jr.,' a youngster of a storm only six years old. Compared to the Great Red Spot, Red Jr. is half-sized, able to swallow Earth merely once, but it blows just as hard as its older cousin."
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Huge Storms Converge on Jupiter

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  • by afaik_ianal ( 918433 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @12:42AM (#15485186)
    If the great red spot is twice as wide as earth is, then its radius is 12,756.3 km and the earth's is 6378.15. That means that the great red spot is an area of approximately 510950815.6266 square kilometers and the earth's cross section has an area of approximately 127737703.90665 square kilometers.

    But now you can throw your maths right out the window, because you're using the wrong formula. From Wikipedia, "The Great Red Spot's dimensions are ~24-40,000 km × 12-14,000 km". It's not circular, sorry.

    At it's smallest size (which I understand it is close to at the moment - It has halved in size over the past 100 years), it is almost exactly 2 Earths wide, and is also 2 times the Earth's cross-section in area.

  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:10AM (#15485263) Homepage

    What kind of strength/magnification do you need to see Jupiter in that resolution?
  • Premature (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:13AM (#15485269) Journal
    The New Horizons probe will visit Jupiter early next year. If the merging waits another half year then NH could give us a nice look.

    New Horizons is heading toward Pluto, but will use Jupiter to kind of "slingshot" it faster toward Pluto. NASA doesn't want to pay for bigger rockets, so they cheat by stealing a small slice of Jupiter's orbital momentum. Let's hope Big Jup doesn't find out, because he is really really big and strong.
  • Re:Collide? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orp ( 6583 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:44AM (#15486437) Homepage
    Congratuations. You've just described what I go through trying to simulate tornado-producing thunderstorms. Even the "how do I present the results" part. Something I deal with on a day to day basis. As far as presentation goes, I like raytracers to present scalar data and feature-detection software to find vortices. Throw in stereo viewing, animate the sucker and at the very least you've got some cool pictures and movies.
  • by lightning_queen ( 861008 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @01:02PM (#15488397)
    There is one major difference you seem to disregard in your comparison between Earth and Jupiter. On Earth, we know most of it's topography, we know what it's core, shell, and atomosphere consist of, we know how it spins and the general dynamics of its weather (with some exceptions, of course, but for the most part). With Jupiter, we know very little about it other than what we've been able to speculate. We speculate that it's a still-born star, so we speculate it has a mass similar to that of a small star. From our knowledge of what small stars consist of and what kind of gravity required to keep certain elements in an atomosphere, we can speculate the contents of Jupiter's atomosphere. We've even been able to see the top few layers with The Galileo Project [], but the surface, if there is one, is still a mystery. So, not only do we not know what the surface is like, or how it affects the surrounding clouds and storms, but we're not even sure there is a surface. And we certainly don't know if these storms go all the way down to the surface. Who's to say the core even rotates? Or rotates at the same speed or in the same direction as everything else? This one's going out on a limb, I know, but space can already easily break many of the scientific laws that we've established (light itself breaks several of these), so who's to say that what goes on in the depths of a stillborn star goes against everything we consider to be logical?

    Meteorologists say that it's practically an unsolvable problem, and that's on a planet which they already know a lot about. With a planet such as Jupiter, there's simply too many unknowns. Everyone knows that the more unknowns you have in a problem, the harder it becomes to solve. The problem here is that, for Jupiter, the problem/formula is almost entirely unknowns.

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