Jupiter’s Storms

On a world where the entire surface and most of the atmosphere are composed of dense, fast-moving clouds, you can imagine that the storms are slightly worse than our regular terrestrial thunderstorm.

Of course, the most famous of Jupiter’s maelstroms is the Great Red Spot, aptly named for its blue color (kidding) and impressive diameter, which could comfortably house a handful of copies of our own planet.

790106-0203_Voyager_58M_to_31M_reduced

Gif source: NASA- public domain

As seen in the animation above, the Spot is a product of two large bands of clouds on the surface rotating in contrary directions- it is essentially a massive eddy in the river of Jupiter’s clouds.  The Spot has been rotating likely for far longer than humans have been aware of it and, according to mathematical models, will continue storming indefinitely without outside intervention.

 

Hubble_Captures_Vivid_Auroras_in_Jupiter's_Atmosphere

Image source: NASA- HubbleSite

Another variety of storm that often gets overlooked on our system’s largest planet is that of the magnetic variety.  With a magnetic field fourteen times as strong as our own, the aurorae at Jupiter’s poles are massive and vivid.  The source of this magnetic strength comes, once again, from the eddy’s formed in Jupiter’s constantly moving composition.  The constant and violent rubbing of the planet’s liquid metallic hydrogen core produces a vast magnetic field that far outshines our own, the product of spinning liquid iron.

The massive disturbances all over Jupiter give it its unique fluid, ethereal look that seems to fit every definition of the word “alien” as it applies to conditions on our home planet.

Source: Wikipedia: Great Red Spot and other Vortices

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One thought on “Jupiter’s Storms

  1. It is quite amazing and somewhat frightening to think the Great Red Spot could easily encapsulate our planet in its storm. As you said, without outside interference, the storm will continue, which is very impressive. But what kind of outside force do you think it would take to change or disrupt the storm? Or alternatively do you think the storm will grow bigger?

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