Amateur Astronomers See ‘Blades’ on Jupiter’s Great Red Spot | Space


What’s in a name? Well, for the amateur astronomers and scientists fixated on Jupiter, there’s been a recent need to describe its iconic storm as more than just a great red spot.Here on Earth, storms are born and then they disappear. And though it has lingered for hundreds of years, Jupiter’s famous vortex may be approaching the end of its life span, too, as strange as that may seem.The Great Red Spot — GRS for short — is getting smaller. The system was once very elongated, which NASA scientist Glenn Orton joked “might have been better referred to as the Great Red Sausage” in a May 21 email to Space.com. Orton added that the GRS has been shrinking at a pretty consistent rate. Recently, amateur astronomers viewed new formations, “blades” and “flakes,” spinning off from the Great Red Spot. Some reports have called it an unraveling — while experts Space.com talked with wouldn’t describe this activity that way, it’s still very fascinating to watch. 

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