The Storm on Jupiter

Uh… I don’t know what happened to my question, but here goes:

Making an assumption:

  1. That it’s possible to live on the surface of Jupiter (despite the gaseousness.)
    The storm on Jupiter is roughly three times the size of earth. If I were living on the edge of the storm, how long would it take for the entire storm to pass over me? Are we talking years, decades, or centuries?

Actually, I get the impression that wind speeds on Jupiter are rather high–in the neighborhood of 300-400 mph. I’d assume it would roll over pretty quickly.

On Earth, you could say, okay, I’m on the Earth’s solid surface, watching a hurricane go by, and it’s moving by at X miles per hour relative to the surface, so it will pass me by in X hours.

Now, if you were an airplane flying around near the storm, and you asked how fast it would go by, they you can see that this is a more difficult question. What’s your altitude? What are the wind speeds there?

Those are the questions you’d have to answer if you wanted to think of someone on (in?) Jupiter watching the Great Red Spot, because there’s no solid surface.

Keep in mind that the storm does not always move in a straight line, and it depends on which way the wind was blowing. It could stand in one spot and keep turning,

or reverse its course due to opposite winds, and go over you a second time
Either way, youd be dead trying to observe a storm of that size. Dont bother taking a rain coat!

=PK

Here’s your original question, but it is kinda like asking how long the Gulf Stream is going to take to move over you, if you had a house on the edge of it. The storms are semi-permanent features, in a sense.

Are you talking about the Great Red Spot on Jupiter? Or the other storm that is converging on it?

Actually I’m talking about the Big Red Spot, which I assumed was a gigantic storm- it is, isn’t it? If you were somehow anchored to a particular location how long would it take for the red spot to pass you completely? Or another way of asking the question is: How long would it take for a storm of a similar magnitude to pass over you on the earth’s surface?

The red spot is earth sized so it might take a while :wink:

from http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20011231/jupiter.html

Saw a program quite recently about a scaled down to Earth size red spot storm hitting Florida. Didn’t say how long it would take but lets just say that nothing would be standing after it hit, nothing :eek:

This “anchoring” thing is the hole problem . Anchored how? To what? At what level of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

The Great Red Spot (which is its official name) is a giant swirling whosiewhatsis surrounded by other currents and storms (white ovals, for example.)

Perhaps it will illustrate the problem further to point out that unlike the Earth, which rotates once every 24 hours, Jupter doesn’t have a rotation period per se. Its magnetic field (which is presumably tied in some whay to something deep in the interior rotates once every 9 hours and 55 minutes.
(The coordinate system that rotates at the same rate of the magnetic field is called Jovian System III coordinates.)

However, the clouds on Jupiter all move at different speeds, depending on their latitude. (This is called differential rotation) The equator rotates in 9 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds (as does Jovian System I) and the poles rotate in 9h 55m 40s (Jovian System II.)

Each belt (dark stripe) and zone (light stripe) has its own velocity, and belts and zones rotate in opposite directions relative to System I or II. Large and small storms (white ovals, for example) move through the belts and zones. This, of course, is just at the top of the atmosphere.

The GRS is bounded by a jet “above” it (toward the equator) that moves at -60 meters per second and a jet “below” it (toward the south pole) that moves at +50 meters per second, relative to the magnetic field.

Probably the closest answer to your question is how does the GRS move relative to one of these coordinate systems, and the answer is that its longitude (usually measured vs. in System II) drifts very slowly with time, while the latitude remains roughly constant. Unfortunately, I can’t find any quotes on how fast the longitude drifts–I assume it varies. Just to give you some vauge idea, it is currently at 80 degrees (System II), and in 2001 it was at 77 degrees. Sorry I can’t be more specific than that.

Wow! If I haven’t seen a thread more in need of help from The Bad Astronomer in a long time. Actually, there is a “surface” of sorts in Jupiter. The pressures are so great that its believed that hydrogen is a metal and that there’s a small rocky core at the center of the metal mass. Of course, until something actually goes down there, we won’t know for sure. Anybody know if that probe they dropped into Jupiter’s atmosphere a few years ago had a camera on-board and if we got any pictures from it?

I don’t believe there was a camera on board the probe - but even if there were, it’s way too far to the surface. The probe probably wouldn’t make it a tenth* of the way down before being crushed.

(*yes, i pulled that number out of my butt)

Sky and Telescope magazine has an article (link) that says that, based on old sketches and images made over the past few hundred years, it looks like the Spot has been getting gradually smaller in the east-west direction. At some point it may appear completely circular. They think it may be part of a cycle, and that it will one day start to widen again.

Drewbert, I wasn’t asking about the camera because I thought that it might see the surface. I just wanted to know if there was a camera on it because its generally SOP to put a camera of some kind on a probe you’re going to drop on to a planet. Besides, it’d have been kind of neat to see pictures of the clouds, etc. from the inside. Who knows? We might have even seen a Jovian or two flapping around. :wink:

Tuckerfan: Ah, now I see what you meant :slight_smile:

btw, It probably would help if I actually read the article I linked to - they don’t think the Spot size changes are cyclical, but they still think it will widen again.

Isn’t the great red spot something akin to a standing wave? I was under the impression that it stayed fairly well fixed with the rotation of the planet.

<<Drewbert, I wasn’t asking about the camera because I thought that it might see the surface. I just wanted to know if there was a camera on it because its generally SOP to put a camera of some kind on a probe you’re going to drop on to a planet. Besides, it’d have been kind of neat to see pictures of the clouds, etc. from the inside. Who knows? We might have even seen a Jovian or two flapping around. >>

As I remember, there wasn’t a camera. It probably would have taken too much bandwidth to broadcast any images, compared to any other data they could have gotten. There IS a Camera on the Huygens (sp?) probe heading to the moon Titan. (Which, hopefully, I didn’t just jinx by mentioning it) There are also a couple of pictures sent from the surface of Venus by a Soviet Venera probe. With color correction, it looked very gray and…melty. Without color correction, VERY yellow. The surface didn’t seem to “fishbowl” away, though. :wink:

Ranchoth

Man, there sure is some cool shit in the Universe.

–Cliffy