What’s the facts?
The Great Red Spot is a massive hurricane-like storm in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, currently measuring about 24,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) across and 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) tall. About two Earths would fit nice and snug inside. The Great Red Spot was first seen by Robert Hooke and Giovanni Cassini back in 1664-1665, and has been slowly shrinking over the past century, now about half the width it was in 1900. The winds in the Great Red Spot are greatest around its edge, about 430 kilometers per hour (260 miles per hour), larger than a Category 5 hurricane on Earth. In 2000-2006, three smaller, white storms just below the Great Red Spot merged and turned into a single red storm called “Red Spot, Jr.” (scientists call it Oval BA), which is now about the size of Earth. Why these storms appear red remains a mystery!
Original air date 23 June 2009.