We know that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is red. Its color is right there in the name. However, why is it red? A team of NASA scientists recently found out.
Previous theories about the reddish color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot suggested that the color comes from chemicals beneath Jupiter’s clouds, with certain chemicals forming lower in Jupiter’s atmosphere and then rising to the top of the spot.
However, after studying new data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, along with laboratory experiments, scientists think that the red in the Red Spot comes from sunlight hitting chemicals higher up in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.
After studying Cassini’s data, researchers used ultraviolet light to mimic sunlight, and blasted it at two gases known to exist on Jupiter: ammonia and acetylene. The result was a red material that matched Cassini’s observations of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
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