Jupiter, a massive ball of gas that makes up the better portion of planetary matter in our solar system, has long played a role in mankind’s understanding of the universe beyond our pale, blue dot.  In 1676, Danish astronomer Ole Rømer’s study of the orbit of Jupiter’s moon Io led him to the outrageous (at the time) theory that light travels at a fixed rate of speed.  Using his calculations, he was able to extrapolate a “speed of light” that was actually fairly close to what scientists would come to use in nearly all astrophysics computations.

The discovery of the great “red spot” on Jupiter was credited to Samuel Heinrich Schwabe, all the way back in 1831.  The spot, we’d come to find, was a massive storm – so large, in fact, that the entire planet earth could fit inside it.

In the 19th century, the storm is believed to have been about 30,000 miles in diameter, though it has been shrinking at a rate of about 580 miles per year since then.  There’s a chance, because of this rate of degradation, that the spot will eventually vanish altogether, though no one currently knows for sure.  NASA scientists currently speculate the massive storm to be about 350 years old.