November 11, 2010

        Jupiter Before and After

In case you didn’t notice, Jupiter’s great South Equatorial Belt (SEB) disappeared this year!

Don’t worry, though. The huge, gassy planet is going to be fine. That belt (which we see as a dark brown stripe but is actually a mass of dark clouds) has disappeared before.

When it has returned in the past, astronomers have described an amazing sight….and it appears that is starting to happen again. A high energy, white plume is pushing through the clouds on Jupiter, and this probably means that the stripe is coming back.

Since most of us don’t have high-powered telescopes, we can rely on the people at, who love to record these things. There will be updates and plenty of images on their website, so keep checking in the coming weeks.

But in the meantime you can see Jupiter in the night sky. Look up overhead at night. Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon this month. You can’t miss it. Just look up at night and look for the brightest "star" (really a planet and really Jupiter). 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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