Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

New Jupiter image captured by Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have captured a stunning new image of Jupiter showing the giant planet's dynamic atmosphere in glorious detail.

At a distance of 415 million miles (668 million kilometres), Jupiter is now closer to the Earth than at any other time during the year.

The planet is at "opposition", lined up with the Earth and the sun.

Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 was used to photograph details in Jupiter's atmosphere as small as 80 miles (129 kilometres) across.

Shaped by powerful storms and vortices, the planet's roiling atmosphere is divided into several distinct and colourful bands parallel to the equator.

The bands are separated by winds that can reach speeds of up to 400 mph (644 kph).

Jupiter is best known for the Great Red Spot, an anticyclone storm larger than the Earth that has raged for at least 150 years.

For reasons that are still unknown, the Great Red Spot has been slowly shrinking since the late 1800s.

Also visible in the new photo is the Great Red Spot's smaller and more southerly companion, "Red Spot Jnr".

The images are part of the American space agency Nasa's Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (Opal) programme that provides annual Hubble views of the outer planets to look for changes in their storms, winds and clouds.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph