Scientists are saying that the giant red spot on the planet Jupiter is not so giant anymore.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope calculate that the spot, a giant long-lasting storm, is narrowing by about 580 miles a year, much faster than before.
In the late 1800s the red spot was an oval 25,500 miles wide. Now it’s a circle that’s 10,250 miles across.
“In our new observations it is apparent that very small eddies are feeding into the storm,” Amy Simon, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a press release. “We hypothesized that these may be responsible for the accelerated change by altering the internal dynamics and energy of the Great Red Spot.”
Michael Wong, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the spot is a mystery. Astronomers don’t know why it’s red or shrinking, or what will happen next. If this pace continues, in 17 years the spot could be gone. Or it could stop at a smaller size.
Wong said one theory is the spot eats smaller storms, and that it is consuming fewer of them.
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