back to article Jupiter's Great Red Spot becoming mere pimple

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is shrinking. Fast. NASA recently released the images below comparing the spot's size in 1995, 2009 and 2014. Boffins there believe that 19th-century observations of the Spot pegged its widest point at around 41,000km. By the time the two Voyager craft cruised past in the 1980s that was down to 23, …


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  1. LaeMing Silver badge

    Save the big red spot.

    One order of ALL-THE-GREASIEST-FAST-FOOD to launch, please.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Are we sure it's disappearing?

    Or is Jupiter just blinking?

    1. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor

      Re: Are we sure it's disappearing?

      If this is the Alistair Reynolds reference I think it is, well played sir.

    2. thx1138v2

      Re: Are we sure it's disappearing?

      Or is it just winking?

  3. Anonymous Coward 101

    "Recent Hubble Space Telescope images suggest it may be just 16,000km across, and observations support a theory it is shrinking by perhaps 1000km a year.

    Theoretical astrophysicist and cosmologist Alan Duffy has opined that the Spot might be losing energy as it encounters other storms spinning in the opposite direction."

    I'm waiting for an opinion piece by someone at The Register saying that the Spot is really gaining size, and that the methodology Hubble used to measure its size is discredited. Also some shite about a hockey stick.

    1. Caesarius

      Following the argument about whether it will disappear

      I'm pretty sure that weather systems show chaotic behaviour, so a simple linear extrapolation over too long a period is very likely invalid. Perhaps under 20 years is short enough. It will be interesting to see if the spot remains, growing and shrinking erratically, or if it disappears and reappears over a long timescale. I'll probably die first, and miss all the excitement.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Following the argument about whether it will disappear

        But NASA didn't say it would disappear, or even predict that it would keep shrinking. They simply said it has been shrinking since first observed.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: Fibbles

          Which is true science. Even then, extrapolating the data and making predictions only holds as much confidence, as the data you have previously give you. Too add to that, successfully demonstrating the predictions also helps, as no amount of historic data will help if tomorrow it actually does rain in the Sahara.

    2. mad physicist Fiona

      I'm waiting for an opinion piece by someone at The Register saying that the Spot is really gaining size, and that the methodology Hubble used to measure its size is discredited. Also some shite about a hockey stick.

      Which wouldn't necessarily be shite in and of itself. We have observed that the spot has completely disappeared at several points in the past, obscured by higher level cloud. No, I haven't looked at the research in detail but there had better be some more substance than a few photos behind it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hockey stick

      Hey, that hockey stick was real. A real scientific fraud.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm waiting for someone to say that if we don't do something about it in the next two years, it'll be too late and Swansea will be drowned... Not sure what the bad news is then...

  5. Kane Silver badge








    1. malle-herbert

      Re: ...



      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ...

        Ahhhh Helen Mirren, speaking russian in a commanding way.... Ahhhhh

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: ...

          But the zero-G effects were pretty bad. They couldn't decide what parts of the Leonov were zero-G and which not.

          And don't get me started on MOMENTUM ELIMINATION when stopping the centrifuge.

    2. Steven Roper


      Why wasn't this the first post? Come on commentards, you're slacking off here!

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      From the desk of that guy who is Secretary of State

      The People of the United States of America strenously object to this interstellar attempt at intimidation and WILL forcefully confront any further alien activity alluding to the use of non-diplomatic solutions to the European Question.

      The right of the USA to land on Europa is unassaible and not up for discussion.

      Indeed, interstellar arrest warrants have already been issued by the Federal Court of Lower Bumfuck against the following aliens: Grwz-kronb, Liob-Harr, TTS-56 and Lllllluurrinnnnnurin The Elder.

  6. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Heat and food + wind to stir it up

    With all that energy and organic stuff sloshing about I think Jupiter must be the one place in the outer Solar System where life is the likeliest to have appeared...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Heat and food + wind to stir it up

      I tend to agree. "Rendezvous with Medusa", "As on a Darkling Plain" etc. Space, Time and Free Energy. Let the computation ... begin!

  7. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    It's obviously due to global warming ...

    1. Mtech25

      Don't worry

      Greenpeace is already planning to scale the Shard in protest the spot will be saved in no time.

      1. Peter Storm

        Re: Don't worry

        The last Greenpeace person I heard on the TV was one of the ones the Russians had banged up for a while. He was going on about trying to stop them "drilling in the artic". Though why he was so worried about them drilling holes in a truck wasn't made clear.

        1. Mtech25

          Re: Don't worry

          Hi Peter I think you have got the wrong end of the stick, I was pretty sure he meant Attic and personally I would be well annoyed if the Russian decided to put a drilling platform in my Attic. I mean where am I meant to keep my old Computer's and may be useful one day computer parts.

    2. Steve Crook

      Damn, you shot my fox.

      The post is required, and must contain letters. Obviously.

  8. string

    just saying

    The more I look at that picture, the more that thing looks like a nipple.

    Maybe that's just the way my brain works.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: just saying

      An, admittedly temporary, solution to your problem can be found online, but The Register is not the solution you're looking for.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: just saying

        It's not?

        Ryobi Grinder Girl

        Just one example.

  9. RISC OS

    I heard...

    ... that nasa have been dumping loads of a clearasil like substance into jupiter's atmosphere so that they can get better images, could explain why the spot is clearing up!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I heard...

      Like many big red spots, I think it is being squeezed; just who or what is squeezing it is the question.

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Re: I heard...

        Just hope the puss doesn't come in our direction, that's gonna be a massive mirror splodge!

      2. Tom 13

        Re: just who or what is squeezing it is the question.

        Maybe HG just got the wrong planet....

  10. Paul Read


    it´s shrinking because of increased human radio and television transmissions. we must reduce our output to pre-1950 levels within a decade or it will be too late for the Spot!

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: anthropogenic

      Where do you think we put all those old fashioned CFC's?

  11. VinceH Silver badge

    The spot isn't shrinking... Jupiter is expanding.

  12. Benchops

    > it therefore retains the power to make us all feel utterly inconsequential

    We've got a close up photo of it. That's not inconsequential!

  13. Stevie Silver badge


    "His guess is as good as any"

    It is? Good! Here's mine:

    The hole in the crust that is sucking all the atmosphere into the otherwise vacuum-filled hollow core of the planet has clogged up with various bits of detritus over the years, including huge rocks from the Shoemaker-Levy event.

    I arrived at this hypothesis after a session unblocking my bathroom sink. The model produces repeatable results and I judge it reliable, if annoying.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just looks like

    a giant sphincter contracting after a good long bit of business.

  15. thx1138v2

    Surely it's anthropomorphic global warming. Since there seem to be no bounds to what it can affect I don't see why it couldn't be that.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Carbon Emissions

    The carbon emissions must be declining.

  17. Herby Silver badge

    If my dog barks at it long enough... will shrink out of existence. Look it worked for his food many years ago. Unfortunately, he has long since passed away, but I'm sure he is still barking at his food somewhere.

    Why not, it is as good an explanation as any.

  18. MondoMan
    Big Brother

    I obey

    I had thought it was "at least" 400 years old, but the Register says "about" 400 years old, so I'm falling in line. Fits with the 8000-year-old Earth and all that, you know.

  19. Fluffy Bunny
    Black Helicopters

    Global warming

    It's obviously because Australia didn't ratify the Kyoto treaty.

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