Jupiter - Scientific Theories and Mysteries

About Jupiter, scientific theories for the unexplained mysteries of Jupiter including the great red spot.


Theories and Mysteries: No theories as yet explain completely the composition and history of Jupiter. The planet's large mass and low density suggest that the present chemical composition may be similar to what it was when Jupiter was formed, and that the relative chemical abundances are more sunlike than earthlike. Observations from Earth and from interplanetary spacecraft indicate that Jupiter consists largely of the lighter elements hydrogen and helium, that it is essentially a liquid body with at most a small solid core, and that under tremendous compression below the atmosphere the hydrogen forms two liquid layers, one molecular and one metallic.

Among the most puzzling observable features is the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Discovered in 1665, this atmospheric blemish appears as a reddish oval that changes slightly in size over time, though its position remains roughly fixed on the planet. Presently, informed opinion holds that the Spot is a high-pressure cyclonic storm. Scientists also wish to know with certainty what produces Jupiter's erratic radio noise storms, whether the planet has a solid surface, and whether it possesses internal heat sources and organic life in its atmosphere.

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