NASA shows off a lovely new image of Jupiter

Pablo Tucker
August 10, 2019

New Hubble telescope images of Jupiter taken this summer show the planet's famous Great Red Dot and some of the most intense colors in the cloud bands that circle the planet that scientists have seen.

"Jupiter's upper atmosphere is a riot of colourful clouds, contained in bands that whisk along at different wind speeds and in alternating directions".

Parallel bands of cloud contrast with one another as they travel in opposite directions across Jupiter's tumultuous "surface". The raging storm that is the Great Red Spot is itself about the diameter of Earth and rolls counterclockwise between two bands of clouds. NASA notes that the worm-shaped feature to the south of the Great Red Spot is a cyclone that spins in the opposite direction of the Great Red Spot. No one knows why.

NASA has taken a fresh new look at the second-largest object in our solar system, Jupiter, with the aid of the Hubble Space Telescope. Numerous exoplanets astronomers have found are gas giants as well and some of them are much closer to their star than Jupiter is from our Sun.

The Great Red Spot has been the planet's most long-lasting feature.

This global map of Jupiter released by NASA on August 8, 2019 was created using imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA's latest portraits of Jupiter were snapped on June 27, 2019, when Hubble had a good view of the Great Red Spot.

All of Jupiter's colorful cloud bands in the Hubble image are confined to the north and south by jet streams that remain constant, even when the bands change color. The image does confirm that the Great Red Spot is continuing to shrink as it has done for the last 150 years. "Researchers have observed cyclones with a wide variety of different appearances across the planet". These bands are kept separated by tremendous winds that can hit 400 miles (644 kilometers) per hour. This initiative allows Hubble to dedicate time each year to observing the outer planets and provides scientists with access to a collection of maps, which helps them to understand not only the atmospheres of the giant planets in the Solar System, but also the atmosphere of our own planet and of the planets in other planetary systems.

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