NASA has shared new pictures of Jupiter, which were taken by the Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 when the planet was 400 million miles from Earth on June 27, 2019. Among the most striking features revealed was more intense and rich colours of cloud bands on top and bottom of the Great Red Spot stand out the most. The two bands are moving in opposite directions and a storm is rolling counterclockwise between them, as per NASA.
“The red band above and to the right (northeast) of the Great Red Spot contains clouds moving westward and around the north of the giant tempest. The white clouds to the left (southwest) of the storm are moving eastward to the south of the spot,” NASA said in a post. A worm-shaped feature that can be seen below the Great Red Spot is a cyclone, while the two white oval-shaped features are anticyclones.
The bands of clouds are created thanks to a difference in height and thickness of ammonia clouds on Jupiter. The atmospheric pressure on the planet causes the lighter bands of clouds to rise, which consist of thicker clouds when compared to darker bands.
The clouds, which offer important clues of Jupiter’s atmosphere, produced an even more intense colour palette than the previous year. Scientists believe that the bright orange colour of the wide band at the equator point to red particles in the haze as deeper clouds have started to clear out.
Jupiter was recently hit by a large asteroid, photos of which were shared on Twitter by astronomer Ethan Chappel. The crash was recorded on August 7, 2019, in the planet’s South Equatorial Belt (SEB). The flash of light, which showcases the possibility of a large asteroid crashing into Jupiter, was captured as a small white dot before it faded away.