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Title: DRAMATIC CHANGE IN JUPITER'S GREAT RED SPOT FROM SPACECRAFT OBSERVATIONS

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (GRS) is one of its most distinct and enduring features. Since the advent of modern telescopes, keen observers have noted its appearance and documented a change in shape from very oblong to oval, confirmed in measurements from spacecraft data. It currently spans the smallest latitude and longitude size ever recorded. Here we show that this change has been accompanied by an increase in cloud/haze reflectance as sensed in methane gas absorption bands, increased absorption at wavelengths shorter than 500 nm, and increased spectral slope between 500 and 630 nm. These changes occurred between 2012 and 2014, without a significant change in internal tangential wind speeds; the decreased size results in a 3.2 day horizontal cloud circulation period, shorter than previously observed. As the GRS has narrowed in latitude, it interacts less with the jets flanking its north and south edges, perhaps allowing for less cloud mixing and longer UV irradiation of cloud and aerosol particles. Given its long life and observational record, we expect that future modeling of the GRS's changes, in concert with laboratory flow experiments, will drive our understanding of vortex evolution and stability in a confined flow field crucial for comparison with other planetary atmospheres.
Authors:
 [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ; ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Code 690, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)
  2. Astronomy Department, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
  3. British Astronomical Association, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0DU (United Kingdom)
  4. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 (United States)
  5. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg A 31, 14473 Potsdam (Germany)
  6. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkeley, 6121 Etcheverry Hall, Mailstop 1740, Berkeley, CA 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22364791
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 797; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; AEROSOLS; CLOUDS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; IRRADIATION; JETS; JUPITER PLANET; METHANE; PLANETARY ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITE ATMOSPHERES; SATELLITES; SOLAR SYSTEM EVOLUTION; TELESCOPES