Jupiter has lost one of its cloud stripes

May 14, 2010 by Lin Edwards report
The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) has faded away leaving just the north belt (NEB) viewable in small telescopes. Image credit: Anthony Wesley

(PhysOrg.com) -- New photographs of the gas giant Jupiter, the first taken on May 9, show the massive reddish band of clouds known as the Southern Equatorial Belt in the planet’s southern hemisphere has disappeared from view.

The first photographs were taken by a noted Australian amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley from Murrumbateman in New South Wales, using a 14.5 inch telescope. Wesley said he had been eagerly waiting to take photographs after Jupiter disappeared behind the sun and out of view for three months. In mid 2009 it was clear to Jupiter watchers the cloud band, which encircles the planet, was beginning to enter a new fading cycle.

Wesley, an enthusiastic Jupiter observer, said the exact time the cloud belt will revive is unknown, but it fades every three to 15 years. Previous fading cycles have been characterized by violent and dramatic storms in the southern equatorial latitudes. The Northern and Southern Equatorial belts are composed of ammonia ice with and some .

It is not known why the belt periodically disappears, but it may be that it sinks lower if it cools, and then the view of it is obscured by clouds pouring in over the top of it. The clouds on Jupiter are tens of thousands of kilometers deep. Wesley said the phenomenon could be linked to that preceded the change.

Wesley said Jupiter, the largest planet in the , is fascinating to observe and photograph because the internal heat deep within the atmosphere makes it so dynamic and dramatic, and it can look different even from one day to the next.

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Watch Jupiter rotate and its cloud belts move with the winds. The time-lapse video was made using images shot during Voyager 1's flyby of the planet in 1979.

The most dramatic feature on Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, which now stands out more than usual since it is on the edge of the Southern Equatorial Belt, which has now faded from view. The Great Red Spot is a huge storm twice the size of Earth that has raged for at least three centuries, although astronomers said last year it appears to be shrinking.

The photographs taken by Wesley have been released by The Planetary Society in California, and are also available on Wesley’s own website. In July last year Wesley was first to notice a dark blemish on Jupiter, probably caused by a comet. It is possible to see the features of even with quite a modest telescope.

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2.6 / 5 (5) May 14, 2010
Jovian warming is changing the environment
5 / 5 (1) May 14, 2010
What's amazing is that those images were taken by some guy using a tiny backyard telescope. Amateur astronomy has come a long way in the past 20 years, in part due to better equipment, and in part due to better computer hardware and software.
5 / 5 (3) May 14, 2010
That's a great point gopher65. Back in my youth I attempted to photograph planetary details using an 8" scope and photographic film. Many, many hours were spent in this pursuit and the results were nowhere near what amateurs today with even smaller scopes can achieve using CCD cameras and stacking/enhancement software.

By coincidence, a paper coauthored by Wesley was posted on arXiv.org today [see "The impact of a large object with Jupiter in July 2009" by Sanchez-Lavega et. al.: http://arxiv.org/abs/1005.2312 ] This paper contains Wesley's original images as well as a comparison to the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts a decade before. Some truly inspiring work that started with an observation by an alert amateur astronomer.
1.8 / 5 (5) May 15, 2010
The thing is that the entire solar system is showing effects of energetic distortion/change that is on the increase.

The earth is not excepted in this. All of the planets have infrared signatures that are ~WAY~ high. The loss of the stripe is making this evidence harder and harder to keep off the public radar. If the entire solar system is showing very strong verifiable evidence of energetic increase on all planets..then - what the hell is going on out there?

Jupiter loosing a stripe is no joke.

The earth's magnetic field is now in the wobbly and weak (less than 15% of full strength) danger area for a flip, and the magnetic pole is accelerating in it's change of position (movement) in a exponential manner.

It is now up to approximately 37 miles per year, moving toward Siberia. The south magnetic pole is doing the same. The north pole is making a beeline for Siberia. Compasses are getting jittery and flippy (reading ~NORTH~) up as high as the tip of South Africa.

Do the research.
1.8 / 5 (5) May 15, 2010
To continue:

This flippy compass effect up as high as South Africa, this obviously indicates that the distortion originates somewhere below the plane, in the south - as the center point (xyz point in space) of the origin of the distortion would have to be coming from that direction in order to make the flippy behavior exist, at all. This means there is a large mass coming in from below.

So they create an infrared telescope with leading edge capabilities that is for some unknown reason taking readings in that part of the sky.... it is set up to work on that exact direction and part of the sky. Think about it.


Amateur astronomers with a large aperture scopes need to be pointing them in the direction indicated by the data. Something is there. And it is coming in fast.

One should consider that all recent developments indicate that singular star systems are very much a minority and dark star (dwarf) companions are the far more common denominator.
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2010
Looks like Jupiter is also going through climate change... Although, clearly on a much larger scale.
not rated yet May 19, 2010
so Jupiter loses a ring about the same time Apple loses the iPhone prototype. Coincidence? I think not.
May 19, 2010
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