The second large spot that was discovered in Jupiter’s atmosphere by astronomers from the University of Leicester, SC, has a size comparable to the size of the famous Great red spot of Jupiter and is formed under the influence of powerful energy flows caused by auroras occurring on the planet.
The so-called “Great Cold Spot”, it was observed as a localized dark spot, extending to 24,000 kilometers in latitude and 12,000 kilometers along the longitude of the planet in the thermosphere of the gas giant at high altitude. The temperature inside this cold spot is about 200 Kelvin below, compared to the ambient temperature, which can range from 700 Kelvin (426 degrees Celsius) to 1000 K (726 degrees Celsius).
Dr. Tom Stallard, associate professor of astronomy of the planets and principal author of the new study, said: “For the first time, we observe a weather phenomenon in the upper layers of the Jovian atmosphere far from the bright auroras of the planet.”
“The large cold spot is much more mobile than the slowly changing Large red spot, significantly changing the size and shape for several days and weeks, but it again and again appears in the scientific data for the last 15 years, which we analyzed in our work. This means that the stain is restoring its structure all the time and, therefore, can be as old as the aurora, leading to its formation – perhaps its age is many thousands of years. ”
The Stallard team assumes that the existence of the Great Cold Spot is due to the influence of the planet’s magnetic field, one of the manifestations of which is the transfer of energy by powerful polar auroras to the atmosphere in the form of heat, which then begins to circulate around the planet. Such “tunneling” of heat from the thermosphere, the boundary layer between the atmosphere and the emptiness of outer space, leads to the formation of a region with a lower temperature in the thermosphere, the authors note.