The Solar System’s largest atmospheric vortex is gradually shrinking. We are talking about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Since mid-May, the storm has decreased by more than 20%. This animation, created by Marco Vedovato of the JUPOS Project, shows what happened to the spot in 10 days. The video consists of images collected from a dozen amateur astronomers.
Gas is streaming away from the storm as it spins. Vedovato said he had never seen that before. Experienced observers note that the storm changes its shape every day. According to Vedovato, the JUPOS project has the largest Jupiter database with more than 1 million measurements, including old images and drawings from the 18th century, allowing us to draw conclusions about the trends of what is happening in the Great Red Spot. The graphs show a sudden decrease in the diameter of the storm since early May.
At the same time, Jupiter is getting closer to Earth. On June 12, it will make this year’s closest approach to Earth, and the planets will be ‘only’ 641 million km apart. Jupiter is shining in the sky almost four times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Therefore, astrophotographers have a great opportunity to observe the Great Red Spot.