Jupiter’s Great Red Spot May Soon Be a Great Red Memory


Get a good look at Jupiter’s Great Red Spot while you can. The giant storm is shrinking, and it might fade into memory within your lifetime. (Business Insider)

Use our activity to learn more about the Great Red Spot and what it has in common with storms on Earth.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit.

This swirling composite image of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot used data collected by NASA’s Juno mission in July 2017.
Image by NASA / SWRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Justin Cowart

Discussion Ideas


Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is just one of the storms swirling around (and around, and around) the great big planet.
Image by NASA
  • Why has the Great Red Spot been so long-lasting?
    • The storm is caught between Jupiter’s racing belts and zones.
      • Belts are dark bands of clouds, generally thin and located at fairly low altitudes.
      • Zones are light bands of clouds, generally thicker than belts and located at high altitudes. Zones have lighter colors than belts due to a higher concentration of ammonia and light-reflecting ammonia ice.
    • Think of the GRS [Great Red Spot] as a spinning wheel that keeps on spinning because it’s caught between two conveyor belts that are moving in opposite directions. The GRS is stable and long-lived, because it’s ‘wedged’ between two jet streams that are moving in opposite directions.”



These Hubble images, taken over a span of 20 years, clearly show the Great Red Spot becoming the Great Red Circle … and possibly a Great Red Memory.
Photograph courtesy NASA/ESA



Business Insider: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot may have only 10 to 20 years left before it dies

Inverse: Why Is the Great Red Spot Dying?

Nat Geo: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

NASA Mission Juno: Great Red Spot

Nat Geo: D’you Know About Juno?

Nat Geo: Jupiter Gets Its Close-Up

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