Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

March 10, 1997
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Jupiter: At The Belt-Zone Boundary
The Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Jupiter's thick atmosphere is striped by wind-driven cloud bands that remain fixed in latitude - dark colored bands are known as belts while light colored bands are zones. At Jupiter's belt-zone boundaries the shearing wind velocities can reach nearly 300 miles per hour. Near infrared images recently returned by the Galileo Spacecraft were mapped to visible colors in this close-up of a belt-zone boundary near the gas giant's equator. The color mapping reveals different layers, lower clouds are bluish, higher ones pinkish. The smallest features seen are tens of miles across.

Tomorrow's picture: Jupiter: The Great Yellow Spot

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.