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Hubble tracks Jupiter’s stormy weather

The giant planet Jupiter, in all its banded glory, is revisited by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in these latest images, taken on 5–6 January 2024, that capture both sides of the planet. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL). This is because these large worlds are shrouded in clouds and hazes stirred up by violent winds, leading to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.The largest and nearest of the giant outer planets, Jupiter’s colourful clouds present an ever-changing kaleidoscope of shapes and colours. This is a planet where there is always stormy weather: cyclones, anticyclones, wind shear, and the largest storm in the Solar System, the Great Red Spot. Jupiter has no solid surface and is perpetually covered with largely ammonia ice-crystal clouds that are only about 48 kilometres thick in an atmosphere that’s tens of thousands of kilometres deep and give the planet its banded appearance. The bands are produced by air flowing in different directions at various latitudes with speeds approaching 560 kilometres per hour. Lighter-hued areas where the atmosphere rises are called zones. Darker regions where air falls are called belts. When these opposing flows interact, storms and turbulence appear. Hubble tracks these dynamic changes every year with unprecedented clarity, and there are always surprises. The many large storms and small white clouds seen in Hubble’s latest images are evidence for a lot of activity going on in Jupiter’s atmosphere right now.[Image 1] – Big enough to swallow Earth, the classic Great Red Spot stands out prominently in Jupiter’s atmosphere. To its lower right, at a more southerly latitude, is a feature sometimes dubbed Red Spot Jr. This anticyclone was the result of storms merging in 1998 and 2000, and it first appeared red in 2006 before returning to a pale beige in subsequent years. This year it is somewhat redder again. The source of the red coloration is unknown but may involve a range of chemical compounds: sulphur, phosphorus or organic material. Staying in their lanes, but moving in opposite directions, Red Spot Jr. passes the Great Red Spot about every two years. Another small red anticyclone appears in the far north.[Image 2] – Storm activity also appears in the opposite hemisphere. A pair of storms, a deep red cyclone and a reddish anticyclone, appear next to each other at right of centre. They look so red that at first glance, it looks like Jupiter skinned a knee. These storms are rotating in opposite directions, indicating an alternating pattern of high- and low-pressure systems. For the cyclone, there’s an upwelling on the edges with clouds descending in the middle, causing a clearing in the atmospheric haze.The storms are expected to bounce past each other because their opposing clockwise and counterclockwise rotation makes them repel each other. Toward the left edge of the image is the innermost Galilean moon, Io — the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, despite its small size (only slightly larger than Earth’s moon). Hubble resolves volcanic outflow deposits on the surface. Hubble’s sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths clearly reveals interesting surface features.

The giant planet Jupiter, in all its banded glory, is revisited by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in these latest images, taken on 5–6 January 2024, that capture both sides of the planet. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL). This is because these large worlds are shrouded in clouds and hazes stirred up by violent winds, leading to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.[left image] – Big enough to swallow Earth, the classic Great Red Spot stands out prominently in Jupiter’s atmosphere. To its lower right, at a more southerly latitude, is a feature sometimes dubbed Red Spot Jr. This anticyclone was the result of storms merging in 1998 and 2000, and it first appeared red in 2006 before returning to a pale beige in subsequent years. This year it is somewhat redder again. The source of the red coloration is unknown but may involve a range of chemical compounds: sulphur, phosphorus or organic material. Staying in their lanes, but moving in opposite directions, Red Spot Jr. passes the Great Red Spot about every two years. Another small red anticyclone appears in the far north.[right image] – Storm activity also appears in the opposite hemisphere. A pair of storms: a deep red cyclone and a reddish anticyclone, appear to be next to each other at right of centre. They look so red that at first glance, it looks like Jupiter skinned a knee. These storms are rotating in opposite directions, indicating an alternating pattern of high- and low-pressure systems. For the cyclone, there’s an upwelling on the edges with clouds descending in the middle causing a clearing in the atmospheric haze.The storms are expected to bounce past each other because their opposing clockwise and counterclockwise rotations make them repel each other. Toward the left edge of the image is the innermost Galilean moon, Io — the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, despite its small size (only slightly larger than Earth’s moon). Hubble resolves volcanic outflow deposits on the surface. Hubble’s sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths clearly reveals interesting surface features.[Image description: A side-by-side image showing both faces of Jupiter on the black background of space. The left image is labelled January 5, 2024. Jupiter is banded with stripes of brownish orange, light grey, soft yellow, and shades of cream, punctuated with many large storms and small white clouds. The Great Red Spot is the most prominent feature in the left bottom third of this view. The right image is labelled January 6, 2024. This opposite side of Jupiter is also banded with stripes of brownish orange, light grey, soft yellow, and shades of cream. At upper right of centre, a pair of storms appear next to each other: a deep-red, triangle-shaped cyclone and a reddish anticyclone. Toward the far-left edge of this view is Jupiter’s tiny orange-coloured moon Io.]Credit:NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Simon (NASA-GSFC)
The giant planet Jupiter, in all its banded glory, is revisited by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in these latest images, taken on 5 January 2024, that capture both sides of the planet. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL). This is because these large worlds are shrouded in clouds and hazes stirred up by violent winds, leading to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.Big enough to swallow Earth, the classic Great Red Spot stands out prominently in Jupiter’s atmosphere. To its lower right, at a more southerly latitude, is a feature sometimes dubbed Red Spot Jr. This anticyclone was the result of storms merging in 1998 and 2000, and it first appeared red in 2006 before returning to a pale beige in subsequent years. This year it is somewhat redder again. The source of the red coloration is unknown but may involve a range of chemical compounds: sulphur, phosphorus or organic material. Staying in their lanes, but moving in opposite directions, Red Spot Jr. passes the Great Red Spot about every two years. Another small red anticyclone appears in the far north.[Image description:  Jupiter is banded with stripes of brownish orange, light grey, soft yellow, and shades of cream, punctuated with many large storms and small white clouds. The largest storm, the Great Red Spot, is the most prominent feature in the left bottom third of this view. To its lower right is a smaller reddish anticyclone, Red Spot Jr.]Credit:NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Simon (NASA-GSFC)
The giant planet Jupiter, in all its banded glory, is revisited by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in this new image, taken on 6 January 2024, that captures both sides of the planet. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL). This is because these large worlds are shrouded in clouds and hazes stirred up by violent winds, leading to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.A pair of storms is visible: a deep red cyclone and a reddish anticyclone, appear to be next to each other at right of centre. They look so red that at first glance, it looks like Jupiter skinned a knee. These storms are rotating in opposite directions, indicating an alternating pattern of high- and low-pressure systems. For the cyclone, there’s an upwelling on the edges with clouds descending in the middle causing a clearing in the atmospheric haze.The storms are expected to bounce past each other because their opposing clockwise and counterclockwise rotations make them repel each other. Toward the left edge of the image is the innermost Galilean moon, Io — the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, despite its small size (only slightly larger than Earth’s moon). Hubble resolves volcanic outflow deposits on the surface. Hubble’s sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths clearly reveals interesting surface features.[Image description: Jupiter is banded with stripes of brownish orange, light grey, soft yellow, and shades of cream, with many large storms and small white clouds punctuating the planet. At upper right of centre, a pair of storms appear next to each other: a deep-red, triangle-shaped cyclone and a reddish anticyclone. Toward the far-left edge of this view is Jupiter’s tiny orange-coloured moon Io.]Credit:NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Simon (NASA-GSFC)
The giant planet Jupiter, in all its banded glory, is revisited by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in these latest images taken on 5–6 January 2024, that capture both sides of the planet. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL). This is because these large worlds are shrouded in clouds and hazes stirred up by violent winds, leading to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing weather patterns.[left image] – Big enough to swallow Earth, the classic Great Red Spot stands out prominently in Jupiter’s atmosphere. To its lower right, at a more southerly latitude, is a feature sometimes dubbed Red Spot Jr. This anticyclone was the result of storms merging in 1998 and 2000, and it first appeared red in 2006 before returning to a pale beige in subsequent years. This year it is somewhat redder again. The source of the red coloration is unknown but may involve a range of chemical compounds: sulphur, phosphorus or organic material. Staying in their lanes, but moving in opposite directions, Red Spot Jr. passes the Great Red Spot about every two years. Another small red anticyclone appears in the far north.[right image] – Storm activity also appears in the opposite hemisphere. A pair of storms: a deep red cyclone and a reddish anticyclone, appear to be next to each other at right of centre. They look so red that at first glance, it looks like Jupiter skinned a knee. These storms are rotating in opposite directions, indicating an alternating pattern of high- and low-pressure systems. For the cyclone, there’s an upwelling on the edges with clouds descending in the middle causing a clearing in the atmospheric haze.The storms are expected to bounce past each other because their opposing clockwise and counterclockwise rotations make them repel each other. Toward the left edge of the image is the innermost Galilean moon, Io — the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, despite its small size (only slightly larger than Earth’s moon). Hubble resolves volcanic outflow deposits on the surface. Hubble’s sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths clearly reveals interesting surface features.[Image description: A side-by-side image titled Jupiter HST/WFC3/UVIS shows opposite faces of Jupiter banded in brownish orange, light grey, soft yellow, and shades of cream stripes, on the black background of space. Below the title is a colour key with filters and colours used to create the images: F395N is blue; F502N is green, and F631N is red. To the bottom right are compass arrows indicating orientation on the sky. The north arrow points towards 11 o’clock; the east arrow points toward 8 o’clock. On the other side of the planet, at upper right centre, a pair of storms appear next to each other: a deep-red, triangle-shaped cyclone and a reddish anticyclone. Toward the far-left edge of the image is Jupiter’s tiny orange-coloured moon Io.]Credit:NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Simon (NASA-GSFC)VIDEOSThe NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images used in this animated science visualisation present a full rotation of the giant planet Jupiter. This is not a real-time movie. Instead, Hubble snapshots of the colourful planet, taken on 5–6 January 2024, have been photo-mapped onto a sphere, and the model is then rotated in animation. The planet’s real rotation rate is nearly 10 hours, which is easily plotted by watching the Great Red Spot come and go with each completed rotation. Hubble monitors Jupiter and the other outer Solar System planets every year under the Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy programme (OPAL).Credit:NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), A. Simon (NASA-GSFC)Fuente: ESA/Hubble Information Centre

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