May 15, 2014 5:01 PM by AP
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jupiter's Great Red Spot seems to be on a cosmic diet, shrinking rapidly before our eyes.
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope calculate that the spot, a giant long-lasting storm, is narrowing by about 580 miles a year, much faster than before.
In the late 1800s the red spot was an oval 25,500 miles wide. Now it's a circle that's 10,250 miles across.
Michael Wong, a scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the spot is a mystery. Astronomers don't know why it's red or shrinking, or what will happen next. If this pace continues, in 17 years the spot could be gone. Or it could stop at a smaller size.
Wong said one theory is the spot eats smaller storms, and that it is consuming fewer of them.