One of the more enduring questions that kids ask when they learn about astronomy for the first time is why Jupiter has such a gigantic red spot on its surface. Now ScienceDaily brings us word that researchers may have discovered exactly why Jupiter’s big red spot is so red: For lack of a better term, it seems that our solar system’s largest planet has a sunburn.

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“The ruddy color of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is likely a product of simple chemicals being broken apart by sunlight in the planet’s upper atmosphere, according to a new analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini mission,” Science Daily writes. “The results contradict the other leading theory for the origin of the spot’s striking color — that the reddish chemicals come from beneath Jupiter’s clouds.”

Kevin Baines, a Cassini team scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tells ScienceDaily that the red spot probably isn’t at all red once you get beneath its surface since sunlight needs to interact with the chemicals to produce the reddish hue. In fact, Baines estimates that the spot’s actual color underneath the surface is a pretty “bland” white or gray.

Read more about the truth about Jupiter’s giant red spot by clicking the source link below.

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