Jupiter Has Come Down With a Case of Chicken PoxS

Jupiter seems to be sprouting lots of Red Spots these days. Of course the original gangsta, the multiple Earth-sized Great Red Spot has been around for just about four centuries. But back in 2006 Red Spot Jr. appeared and as this picture shows, researchers have just observed a third spot west of big daddy. What's causing the outbreak? Engineer Phil Marcus of the University of California, Berkeley thinks climate change is to blame.

According to Marcus, Jupiter's equatorial regions are getting warmer and the South Pole appears to be cooling. The difference in temperature between the two parts of the planet is causing increased cloud convection and turbulence — meaning more storms.

Red Spot III: Rise of the Clouds may be short-lived, though. Astronomers expect that it will meet up with the Great Red Spot by August, when it could be consumed by the much more massive, ancient raging storm.

Source: HubbleSite.org via Space Telescope Science Institute