As it turned out, there has been a recent discovery by NASA into the Great Red Spot that has been most prominently featured on the face of the planet Jupiter. There has been detection of moisture found within the clouds of Jupiter, which could hold the possibility of water.
What makes Jupiter’s storms different from Earth’s is that Jupiter itself is 1000 times bigger, consists of gas, and rotates completely once in nine hours. This results in much more bigger storms. Also, while the weathers on Earth are affected by the Sun, since Jupiter is further away from the Sun, the weather activity is caused from the heat from the inside.
More specifically, the Great Red Spot is the major focus of this discovery. It is a 400-year-old torrential storm that encompasses 10,000 miles and moves at 200 miles. Within it are three layers of clouds: 1. ammonia; 2. mix of ammonia and sulfur; 3. icy and liquid water. This lowest layer of the Great Red Spot is what made Gordon L. Bjoraker, an astrophysicist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, fascinated as soon as he discovered it.
How Bjoraker managed to discover this moisture was by working with a team of researchers to use an infrared spectrometer from the W. M. Keck Observatory and an spectrograph from the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. These were used to measure the wavelengths of light being projected from the Spot in order to see which chemicals were within it.
Detecting the wavelengths of the light as a way to find water on Jupiter was also used by Clemson University’s Professor Mate Adamkovics and his undergraduate research assistant by detecting the water spectra within the ice clouds on Jupiter outside of the Great Red Spot.
Amidst the elements within the layers of clouds, Bjoraker and his researchers found methane gas. This chemical was considered an important part of the research, as it helped Bjoraker and his team to determine where the clouds are detected and how they are moving. It turned out that the movements were being influenced by the lowest layer of clouds, which is what blocks the radiation from the Sun from entering the core.
While the core of Jupiter is made of ice, the rest of the gas planet consists of clouds. What also made the discovery of water possible was the presence of thunder and lightning within the clouds.
This is definitely a generation-defining discovery, alongside the discovery of ice on the poles of planet Mars. It is phenomenal in so much as it may answer many more questions about what lurks within Jupiter’s clouded surface.