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.

August 8, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

White Oval Clouds on Jupiter
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: What are those white ovals all over Jupiter? Storms! Jupiter's clouds can swirl rapidly in raised high-pressure storm systems that circle the planet. The above pictured white ovals are located near the Great Red Spot, and have persisted on Jupiter since the 1930s. The Great Red Spot has persisted for at least 300 years. Currently, no one knows why ovals last as long as they do. White ovals are confined to circular belts around Jupiter, but can interact to cause nearby chaotic cloud regions.

Tomorrow's picture: The Hydra Cluster of Galaxies

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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.