Jupiter’s Great Red Spot (GRS) is an atmospheric storm that has been raging in Jupiter’s southern Hemisphere for at least 400 years.
About 100 years ago, the storm covered over 40,000 km of the surface. It is currently about one half of that size and seems to be shrinking.
At the present rate that it is shrinking it could become circular by 2040. The GRS rotates counter-clockwise(anti-cyclonic) and makes a full rotation every six Earth days.
It is not known exactly what causes the Great Red Spot’s reddish color. The most popular theory, which is supported by laboratory experiments, holds that the color may be caused by complex organic molecules, red phosphorus, or other sulfur compounds.
The GRS is about two to three times larger than Earth. Winds at its oval edges can reach up to 425 mph (680 km/h)
Infrared data has indicated that the Great Red Spot is colder (and thus, higher in altitude) than most of the other clouds on the planet
On Feb. 15, 2013, an asteroid estimated to be the size of a six-story building shot through Earth’s atmosphere at around 43,200 miles per hour. Dragging through the air at such speed caused the object to heat, and it eventually exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The airburst released energy equal to 500,000 tons of TNT—30 times more powerful than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb—sending a pressure wave to the ground that damaged buildings and resulted in more than 100 hospitalizations. Researchers using Sandia National Lab’s Red Sky supercomputer reconstructed the path and explosion of the asteroid to improve models for future trajectories and impacts.
Images courtesy Sandia National Lab. Gif courtesy Sandia/Nature.
According to the laws of physics, a planet in the shape of a doughnut (toroid) could exist. Physicist Anders Sandberg says that such planets would have very short nights and days, an arid outer equator, twilight polar regions, moons in strange orbits and regions with very different gravity and seasons.
Canada is having a cold snap at the moment. This week, in Southern Manitoba, the temperature reached a blisteringly frigid -31 degrees Celsius, or nearly -24 Fahrenheit. (Wind chill values in Winnipeg—in case you were curious and/or in need of some meteorological schadenfreude—dipped to -58 Fahrenheit.) Which is crazy, and which makes for, as Yahoo’s Geekquinox blog puts it, “the coldest afternoon temperatures the area has seen in several years.”
The cold spell also puts Canada into some rarified company. Because you know what other place has recently registered a temperature of -31 degrees Celsius? Mars.