Jupiter's Spot

Updated February 23, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The Question:

Does the big spot you always see in the pictures of Jupiter have a name?

The Answer:

Yes. That oval spot is called the "Great Red Spot."

Believe it or not, that "spot" is actually a giant storm that rotates counter-clockwise and is big enough to hold two Earths. Scientists think the red color is caused by impurities in the planet's atmosphere constantly absorbing ultraviolet and violet light, such as sulfur or phosphorus.

The Great Red Spot is quite a mystery. Nobody is sure how long the storm has been going on. All we know is that the spot has been visible since the day we first built a telescope strong enough to see Jupiter in the 17th century.

Here is a link to pictures of Jupiter, including the Great Red Spot. You can learn more about our solar system at our Astronomy channel.

-The Fact Monster

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