Hubble Showcases New Portrait of Jupiter

Hubble Showcases New Portrait of Jupiter”

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and despite being named after the Roman king of the gods, Jupiter is commonly known as the Gas Giant. Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 observed Jupiter when the planet was 400 million miles (640 million kilometers) from Earth, when Jupiter was near "opposition", or nearly directly opposite the sun in the sky.

The Great Red Spot, which is shaped like a wedding cake, has an upper haze layer that reaches more than three miles higher than clouds in other areas. But the most well-known feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot - the largest known storm in the solar system. Two cloud bands, which are located above and below the Great Red Spot, are moving in opposite directions. The image seen here was snapped on June 27, 2019. The raging storm that is the Great Red Spot is itself about the diameter of Earth and rolls counterclockwise between two bands of clouds.

Below the Great Red Spot is a shape similar to a worm, but it's really a cyclone spinning in the opposite direction of the storm above it. Much smaller storms appear on Jupiter as white or brown ovals that can last as little as a few hours or stretch on for centuries. Lighter-colored bands represent high-altitude ammonia ice clouds, while darker bands travel a shallower path relative to the gas giant's core. The bands in the clouds of Jupiter are created by air flowing in opposite directions at various latitudes. "Researchers have observed cyclones with a wide variety of different appearances across the planet".

"Astronomers don't have definitive answers, for example, why cloud bands and storms change colours or why storms shrink in size". These bands are kept separated by tremendous winds that can hit 400 miles (644 kilometers) per hour.

Hubble, which NASA describes as an "interplanetary weatherman", conducts yearly monitoring of Jupiter and scientists hope that the space telescope will reveal information on the shifting behavior of the planet's clouds, said a NASA press release.

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

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