The Hubble Space Telescope captures beautiful new images of Jupiter

The many large storms and small white clouds seen in the new Hubble images taken on January 5 and 6, 2024 are evidence that there is a lot of activity going on in Jupiter's atmosphere right now.

Jupiter is seen again by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in these images taken Jan. 5-6, 2024, capturing both sides of the giant planet. Image credit: NASA / ESA / STScI / Amy Simon, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Jupiter's colorful clouds offer an ever-changing kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.

It is a planet with always stormy weather: hurricanes, anticyclones, wind shear and the largest storm in the Solar System, the Great Red Spot.

Jupiter has no solid surface, and is permanently covered in an atmosphere tens of thousands of kilometers deep by clouds of ammonia ice-crystals about 48 km (30 mi) thick and giving the planet its bounded appearance.

Bands are created by winds moving in different directions at different latitudes at speeds of up to 563 km/h (350 mph).

The lighter areas where the atmosphere rises are called zones. The dark areas where the wind falls are called belts. When these opposing currents interact, storms and turbulence appear.

Hubble observes Jupiter and other outer solar system planets every year Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) Project.

„In the left Hubble image, the classic Great Red Spot stands out prominently in Jupiter's atmosphere,” Hubble astronomers said in a statement.

„To its lower right, at a southern latitude, is a feature sometimes called the Red Spot Jr.”

„This antagonism resulted from the convergence of storms in 1998 and 2000, and it first appeared red in 2006, before returning to light brown in the following years. This year it has reddened slightly again.

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„The source of the red color is unknown, but may involve a variety of chemical compounds: sulfur, phosphorus, or organic matter.”

„Staying on their tracks, but moving in opposite directions, the Red Spot Jr. passes the Great Red Spot every two years. Another smaller red anticyclone appears in the far north.

„In the correct picture, storm activity also appears in the opposite hemisphere,” they said.

„A pair of storms, a deep red tornado and a reddish antistorm, appear next to each other to the right of center.”

„They look so red, at first glance, it looks like Jupiter has skinned a knee.”

„These storms spin in opposite directions, indicating an alternating pattern of high and low pressure systems.”

„In the case of hurricanes, clouds at the edges descend in the middle, causing the atmospheric fog to clear.”

According to the researchers, these storms are expected to pass each other because their counterclockwise and counterclockwise rotation repels each other.

„Many large storms and small white clouds are hallmarks of much activity in Jupiter's atmosphere right now,” said OPAL Project Leader Dr. Amy Simon, an astronomer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

„The Galilean moon at the left edge of the image is, alas, the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, despite its small size. Hubble resolves volcanic outflow deposits on the surface.”

„Hubble's sensitivity to blue and violet wavelengths clearly reveals interesting surface features.”

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