Why are planet-circling clouds disappearing and reappearing on Jupiter?
Although the ultimate cause remains unknown, planetary
are beginning to better understand what is happening.
Earlier this year, unexpectedly, Jupiter's dark
Southern Equatorial Belt (SEB) disappeared.
The changes were first noted by amateurs dedicated to watching Jupiter full time.
The South Equatorial Band has been seen to change colors before, although the
change has never been recorded in such detail.
Detailed professional observations revealed that high-flying light-colored
ammonia-based clouds formed over the
planet-circling dark belt.
Now those light clouds are dissipating,
again unveiling the lower dark clouds.
Pictured above two weeks ago, far
infrared images -- depicted in false-color red -- show a
powerful storm system
active above the returning dark belt.
Continued observations of Jupiter's current
cloud opera, and our understanding of it, is sure to continue.
Gemini Obs. (North),