Holey moley! Someone blew a giant hole in Jupiter!
The Hubble Space Telescope had its sites set on Jupiter earlier this year and snapped this pic of the massive planet’s famous Great Red Spot. But instead of a red spot, it saw a frightening pupil-like black hole staring back.
Has the Great Red Spot — an ongoing storm that could swallow the entire Earth in a single gulp — disappeared into nothingness?
Has the storm, which was first observed in 1664 and continues strong today, somehow managed to spawn a black hole that will surely grow and devour our solar system whole?
Actually, the real answer is less dramatic, but still fascinating.
This photo is a trick shot that the crafty Hubble Telescope took at just the right moment.
Hubble was observing the Great Red Spot on April 21 of this year when the largest moon in our solar system, Ganymede, was passing across Jupiter. What we’re seeing is the Jovian moon’s shadow cast onto Jupiter’s surface.
If Ganymede’s shadow is the pupil, and the Great Red Spot is the white part of the eye, then we’re looking at a giant celestial eyeball about 10,000 miles in diameter. That’s enough to fit one-and-a-quarter Earths!
This image might not have been possible 200 years ago, even if the technology had been around to see it. That’s because reports earlier this year, the Great Red Spot is not as great as it used to be. In fact, according to some historical measurements, it’s less than half the size it was during the 19th century.
Below is the full-sized image, courtesy of the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.
There’s also a colour version that shows the black hole a little better:
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