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Hubble Sees Jupiter Change Its Stripes

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posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 12:56 PM
Hubble Catches Jupiter Changing Its Stripes

Massive Jupiter is undergoing dramatic atmospheric changes that have never been seen before with the keen "eye" of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Jupiter's turbulent clouds are always changing as they encounter atmospheric disturbances while sweeping around the planet at hundreds of miles per hour. But these Hubble images reveal a rapid transformation in the shape and color of Jupiter's clouds near the equator, marking an entire face of the globe.

The planet is wrapped in bands of yellows, browns, and whites. These bands are produced by air flowing in different directions at various latitudes. 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.

Between March 25 and June 5, Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 captured entire bands of clouds changing color. Zones have darkened into belts and belts have lightened and transformed into zones. Cloud features have rapidly altered in shape and more about this at

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 02:38 PM
awesome find, dude!

i am fascinated with the cosmos, and Jupiter is one of my favorites!

i wonder what's really under all those clouds!!!

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 02:47 PM
I wonder if Jupiter might go through a pole reversal at some point. Isn't it odd that we have never seen another planet reverse it's poles? Maybe we all will flip upside down eventually.

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 03:26 PM
reply to post by ExPostFacto

well, does it have polarity?
i know it has a magnetosphere but i don't know if that means it has a polarity in itself.

Earth's inner polarity is related to the iron core. i forget what Jupiter's core is, but i'm gonna look into it.


posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 03:28 PM

Inside Jupiter

People often ask about Jupiter's surface. Given what we're used to with the Earth - iron core, solid layers in between to the surface and then atmosphere - it's not surprising. But Jupiter is one of the "gas giants" (the others are Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). The gas planets do not have solid surfaces, their gaseous material simply gets denser with depth - or as we think from the surface of the Earth - less dense with height ("Gee, the air is thin up here").

Jupiter's massive atmosphere creates tremendous pressures as you move closer to the center of the planet (think of how the pressure increases as you dive into deeper water - the more mass above you, the greater the pressure). Extreme pressures and temperatures inside Jupiter make it impossible for us to send a probe deep into Jupiter's interior (learn about the fate of the Galileo Probe). Because of this, much of what we know about the interior and core of Jupiter is in the realm of scientific theory.

The extreme pressure and temperature inside Jupiter leads to exotic chemistry. For example, scientists have reason to believe that the inner layers of hydrogen in Jupiter's atmosphere, under the pressure of the atmosphere above, may have formed into a layer of what is called liquid metallic hydrogen. Not exactly an ocean, not exactly atmosphere, this layer of hydrogen would have properties that stretch our understanding of chemistry. Instead of the simple, free-moving behavior of hydrogen in gas form (as we see in our own atmosphere and on the Sun), liquid metallic hydrogen is a strange matrix capable of conducting huge electrical currents. The persistent radio noise and wildly strong magnetic field of Jupiter could both come from this layer of metallic liquid. Some scientists theorize that beneath this layer there is no solid mass at the center of Jupiter, but that the unique temperature and pressure conditions sustain a core whose density is more like liquid or slush.

from Galileo: Jupiter's Core

posted on Jun, 16 2010 @ 03:33 PM
There was a thread on this not too long ago.

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