Kids, I just realized I’ve been somewhat neglecting the planet that sent me (us) down this rabbit hole of amateur astronomy…Jupiter. I feel a tad bit guilty for not paying him the proper homage worthy of such a massive planet. How massive, you ask? What a great question, kids (I knew I was doing a good job 🙂 )!
Observe the image below. It looks like…..Jupiter. Of course. But allow me to draw your attention to that “tiny” little red dot just below the center of the planet.
That little red dot is known to astronomers as the “Great Red Spot” or GRS, for short. It’s basically what we would consider a hurricane. A hurricane that would destroy our world as we know it. I’ll get to that in a second.
It is a storm. But what’s so great about it? Well, that “little” red dot on the planet Jupiter is approximately three times the diameter of our very own planet Earth. In other words, our home planet could fit right inside the boundary of that “little” red dot on Jupiter!……..3 times!!
Of course I try to stick to posting only astro pics that I’ve taken with our own equipment, but I’m gonna make an exception here. Let’s call it a contribution to the “WOW” factor. The image below was taken by the Hubble Telescope in 2019. There are two distinctive white spots just below the Great Red Spot. Those two white spots are approximately the size of our own mother earth. Wow!
Remember the Galilean Moons, kids? There are four of them, right? In the image below there appear to be only three. If you look closely, however, you’ll see a little black dot towards the bottom center of Jupiter. That’s the fourth moon, Europa, casting its shadow on the gas giant around which it orbits. I hope he’s not attempting an eclipse. Nice try, Europa!