Astronomy Picture of the Day
Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph
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January 23, 1996
Beneath Jupiter's Clouds
This near-infrared image of Jupiter was made
using instrumentation at NASA's Infrared Telescope
Facility, located on the summit of Mauna Kea,
in support of the
Galileo mission to Jupiter.
The brightest spots indicated by the false red shading
are relatively clear areas and represent
glimpses beneath the outer layer of
Jupiter's obscuring cloud tops.
On December 7, 1995 a
probe from the Galileo spacecraft parachuted
through these clouds for 57 minutes before melting, all the while
providing the first direct sampling of the
In a recent press release of the probe's findings scientists
announced some surprising results.
Discoveries based on probe data included
a new radiation belt 31,000 miles above the cloud tops,
relatively constant high velocity winds (up to
330 mph), no obvious water clouds, low abundances of Helium and Neon,
lightning occurring only 1/10th as
much as on Earth, and unexpectedly high temperatures.
The Galileo orbiter continues its two-year mission to explore the
Tomorrow's picture: The Deep Field
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