The Change of Jupiter’s Stripes

American scientist reported, Jupiter’s cloud patterns are undergoing dramatic changes. Hubble Space Telescope had revealed the new images. This images show a very detail change that never been explained.

Hubble has been keeping an eye on Jupiter to provide context for close-up observations made by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which flew by the solar system’s largest planet in February on its way to Pluto. In January, some changes were already eviden. Jupiter, the giant planet became observable again after a period when it was too close to the Sun in the sky for Hubble to image. Cloud bands around its equator that had been whitish for the past 15 years or so were noticeably darker, at that time.

Amy Simon-Miller, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, US, says that between 25 March and 5 June, a white band in the planet’s northern hemisphere turned brown, while a gap in the cloud layer produced a serpent-shaped dark streak in the same area. Now, the white bands in the southern hemisphere seem to be changing colour. This is much better than the image before (1980s and early 1990), where similar transformations happened.
The reason why the transformation happened, are not clear enough. Scientist still have no idea, what drives the white clouds that made ammonia ice. They just thougt that the white clouds to be higher up in the planet’s atmosphere than darker cloud. On the other hand, what gives the lower-altitude brownish clouds their distinctive colour is not clear. They though, that is one of the biggest mysteries about Jupiter.

That was the first time that they really have a complete set of data. They have a great expectation that they can figure out what’s going on by the new observations. “This is the key”, Miller says.

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