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.
2018 May 21
Explanation: How do Jupiter's clouds move? To help find out, images taken with NASA's Juno spacecraft during its last pass near Jupiter have been analyzed and digitally extrapolated into a time-lapse video. The eight-second time-lapse video, digitally extrapolated between two images taken only nine minutes apart, estimates how Jupiter's clouds move over 29 hours. Abstractly, the result appears something like a psychedelic paisley dream. Scientifically, however, the computer animation shows that circular storms tend to swirl, while bands and zones appear to flow. This overall motion is not surprising and has been seen on time-lapse videos of Jupiter before, although never in this detail. The featured region spans about four times the area of Jupiter's Great Red Spot. Results from Juno are showing, unexpectedly, that Jupiter's weather phenomena can extend deep below its cloud tops.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.