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Jupiter’s upper atmosphere blazing hot above Great Red Spot

by Brandon Russell | July 31, 2016July 31, 2016 8:00 am PST

Temperatures across the United States may be rising, but they’re nothing compared to new data collected by scientists about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. Not only is the raging, unending storm big and red, it’s also very, very hot.

With the help of a telescope on Earth, astronomers found that the gas giant is blasting heat into the planet’s upper atmosphere, with temperatures reaching upwards of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The newest data is in stark contrast to readings elsewhere on the planet, which, depending on where you are, can be around 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. Clearly, the energy being created by the angry storm is resulting in pretty big temperature spikes.

According to scientists, the increase in temperature is caused by sound-like waves rising upward and crashing in the upper atmosphere. This would suggest that the lower atmosphere of Jupiter has a significant effect on the upper atmosphere—something scientists were initially skeptical of because Jupiter’s upper atmosphere is about 500 miles higher than the lower atmosphere.

Although NASA’s Juno Spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter earlier this month, is designed more to study the planet’s deep interior, scientists will attempt to take more accurate measurements of the Great Red Spot soon. Juno is expected to pass close to the spot in November but will get an ever better opportunity in August of next year.

Nature NyTimes Jupiter

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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