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Jupiter Atmospheric Map
Release Date: February 1, 2007
Huge cyclonic storms, the Great Red Spot and the Little Red Spot, and wispy cloud patterns are seen in fascinating detail in this map of Jupiter's atmosphere obtained January 14-15, 2007, by the New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI).
The map combines information from 11 different LORRI images that were taken every hour over a 10-hour period - a full Jovian day - from 17:42 UTC on January 14 to 03:42 UTC on January 15. The New Horizons spacecraft was approximately 72 million kilometers (45 million miles) from Jupiter at the time.
The LORRI pixels on the "globe" of Jupiter were projected onto a rectilinear grid, similar to the way flat maps of Earth are created. The LORRI pixel intensities were corrected so that every point on the map appears as if the sun were directly overhead; some image sharpening was also applied to enhance detail. The polar regions of Jupiter are not shown on the map because the LORRI images do not sample those latitudes very well and artifacts are produced during the map-projection process.
Several small convective events appear in the north equatorial belt, stretching between (approximately) 10 to 20 degrees north latitude. "In the past, these events have been associated with lightning and thunderstorm-like activity," says Dr. Amy Simon-Miller, a Jupiter atmosphere expert from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
She adds that the equatorial zone remains active with many plumes in the north and a few in the south, and she sees less of the thick, high, white clouds that have been prevalent since the 1980s. The south tropical zone also continues to show increased activity 100 degrees west of the Great Red Spot, and to the northeast of the Little Red Spot, which is located at approximately 230 degrees W and 30 degrees S. The area immediately west of the Great Red Spot remains quiescent at the time.
Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute