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5.30.20
Gas Giant Swirls

Glorious NASA Photo Shows “Thin Bands” Running Across Jupiter

April 6th 20__Victor Tangermann__Filed Under: Off World
NASA/JPL-Caltech

North of Jupiter

NASA just released a dramatic image that its Juno spacecraft took of Jupiter’s “tumultous northern regions” during a close flyby in February. The image was taken from 15,610 miles (25,120 kilometers) away from the gas giant — a distance about twice the diameter of Earth, making this the planetary equivalent of a close-up shot of the gas giant.

The spectacular image shows “thin bands” that run from top to bottom, representing layers of “haze particles” that drift underneath a cloud cover. We still don’t actually know what exactly they are or how they are formed.

Jupiter Jet Streams

Jet streams on either side of the hazy bands may have something to do with the phenomenon, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In 2017, NASA scientists figured out that east-west jet streams on Jupiter tend to reverse course on a predictable schedule.

On Earth, jet streams are shifted by changing temperatures. Warmer temperatures force jet streams to flow eastwards, while cooler temperatures force it westwards. On Jupiter, a similar cycle takes about four Earth years and is mostly caused by gravity waves.

READ MORE: High-Altitude Hazes on Jupiter [JPL]

More on Jupiter: Something Enormous Just Smashed Into Jupiter