Photo in the News: Jupiter Spawns a New Red Spot

Images: Jupiter's red spots
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March 7, 2006—Look out, Great Red Spot. A brash young contender may be aiming for your title of Solar System's Most Powerful Storm.

NASA announced Friday that a new red spot has been born on Jupiter, as seen in a February 27 photograph (at top) by an amateur astronomer.

The new, formerly white spot—actually a storm named Oval BA—has been swirling since at least 2000 but acquired the familiar blushing tint of its centuries-old cousin only a few weeks ago. Nicknamed "Red, Jr.," Oval BA formed as three tempests gradually combined into a single superstorm, as seen in the bottom set of images.

So why are the storms red? No one really knows, but some scientists suggest that these miles-high vortices suck up material from lower altitudes. Once exposed to the sun's rays, the theory goes, the material reddens.

(Related photo: stunning shot of the Great Red Spot.)

—Ted Chamberlain

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