NASA

Each year, NASA's Hubble Space telescope takes photos of the other planets in our solar system to see how they've changed over time.

NASA/ESA/GSFC/UCBerkeley/JPL-Caltech/STScI

This year, images confirm that Jupiter's Great Red Spot is getting smaller, and less red.

In a statement, NASA explains that the Spot—actually a storm spinning on the planet's surface—has been contracting and becoming more circular for years, but it appears to now be doing so at a greater rate. From NASA:

The long axis of this characteristic storm is about 150 miles (240 kilometers) shorter now than it was in 2014. Recently, the storm had been shrinking at a faster-than-usual rate, but the latest change is consistent with the long-term trend. The Great Red Spot remains more orange than red these days, and its core, which typically has more intense color, is less distinct than it used to be.

The Hubble images also revealed a baroclinic waves in Jupiter's North Equatorial Belt that NASA's 1977 Voyager 2 mission previously captured. The wave, NASA explains, is similar to what we sometimes see on Earth when cyclones are forming. “Until now, we thought the wave seen by Voyager 2 might have been a fluke…As it turns out, it’s just rare!” explained NASA JPL researcher Glenn Orton.

Rare wave on Jupiter alert!
NASA/ESA/Goddard/UCBerkeley/JPL-Caltech/STScI

Orton and his team discussed the findings in a paper published in Astrophysical Journal.

Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.