This passage provides information on Jupiter and its Great Red Spot.

Lexile Level: 1100L

Categories: People & Places Science & Technology

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. One of the "gas giants," the planet is mostly gas and liquid with a small, terrestrial core far beneath the visible surface. Jupiter's Great Red Spot is its most distinguishing characteristic. Actually a gigantic hurricane more than twice the size of Earth, the Great Red Spot was first seen in the 1600s. No one knows for sure why the spot is red, but many scientists think that phosphorous creates the color. Spacecraft cannot get close enough to Jupiter, however, to determine what chemicals comprise the spot. A probe named after the astronomer who first saw the Great Red Spot, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, flew by the planet in 2000. It took spectacular pictures of the massive storms that roar across Jupiter. Earlier probes were aimed directly at the planet, transmitting signals until the planet's gravity crushed the spacecraft.

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