Using data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and two telescopes on or near Earth, an international team of scientists has found that one of the solar system’s largest and newest storms – Jupiter’s Little Red Spot – has some of the highest wind speeds ever detected on any planet.
Jupiter’s “LRS” is an anticyclone, a storm whose winds circulate in the opposite direction to that of a cyclone – counterclockwise, in this case.
It is nearly the size of Earth and as red as the similar, but larger and more well known, Great Red Spot (GRS).
The dramatic evolution of the LRS began with the merger of three smaller white storms that had been observed since the 1930s. Two of these storms coalesced in 1998, and the combined pair merged with a third major Jovian storm in 2000. In late 2005 — for reasons still unknown — the combined storm turned red.
The LRS’ maximum winds speeds of about 384 miles per hour far exceed the 156 mile-per-hour threshold that would make it a Category 5 storm on Earth.
(The article, “Changing Characteristics of Jupiter’s Little Red Spot,” is available online at:
from Eureka Alert