Jupiter's Great Red Spot is changing as the years pass, and based on NASA's latest observations, it continues growing smaller in size, while becoming taller and becoming more of an "orange spot" rather than a red one.
As noted by NASA, the past 150 years or so have seen the Great Red Spot contract, and that has left astronomers wondering whether the storm will keep decreasing in area, or if there's a chance it will completely disappear. But in a study led by the space agency, researchers discovered that the storm is staying true to its dynamic nature, growing taller to compensate for the shrinking area partially, and even increasing in area at least once since it was first discovered.
The first time Jupiter's Great Red Spot was sighted was in 1831, with the storm once believed to be capable of consuming at least three planets similar in size to Earth. Almost five decades later, in 1878, astronomers began keeping track of the Great Red Spot's size and drift. This was where study lead author Amy Simon, a planetary atmospheres specialist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, got the figures for her team's study.
Simon's team then blended in NASA's own data, starting from the agency's Voyager missions in 1979, specifically isolating annual data taken as part of the Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy initiative. This project is run by scientists from NASA's Goddard center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley, who record observations from the Hubble Space Telescope.