Jupiter and Great Red Spot

Hubble took new images of the shrinking Great Red Spot of gas giant Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet with about 320 times the Earth’s mass.   Image © NASA, ESA, and A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center)

It’s also known for a giant swirling storm system, the Great Red Spot, featured in this sharp Hubble image from April 21. Nestled between Jupiter-girdling cloud bands, the Great Red Spot itself could still easily swallow Earth, but lately it has been shrinking. The most recent Hubble observations measure the spot to be about 10,250 miles (16,500 kilometers) across. That’s the smallest ever measured by Hubble and particularly dramatic when compared to 14,500 miles measured by the Voyager 1 and 2 flybys in 1979, and historic telescopic observations from the 1800s indicating a width of about 25,500 miles on its long axis.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Compass and Scale Image for Jupiter Great Red Spot.   Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)

via APOD