Share

News Release Archive:

News Release 819 of 948

September 29, 1994 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1994-44

Jupiter's Upper Atmospheric Winds Revealed in Ultraviolet Images by Hubble Telescope

Back

Image: Jupiter's Upper Atmospheric Winds in Ultraviolet Light

Jupiter's Upper Atmospheric Winds in Ultraviolet LightSTScI-PRC1994-44

Screen-use options: These files are created for viewing on your monitor


ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

Top
Three impact sites appear as dark smudges lined up along Jupiter's southern hemisphere (from left to right, sites C, A, and E). This pair of images was obtained on 17 July, several hours after the E impact. These 3 impact sites appear strikingly darker in the far-ultraviolet images to the right. This is because the smoke and dust rising from the fireballs absorbs UV light more strongly than violet light, so that the clouds appear both darker and larger in the UV images. Apparently, the fireball and plume threw large amounts of material completely above the atmosphere. This material diffused back down through the atmosphere with the smaller and lighter particles suspended at high altitudes.

Bottom
Rubble's view of the same hemisphere of Jupiter 12-13 days later shows that the smoke and dust have now been spread mainly in the east/west direction by die prevailing winds at the altitude where the dark material is suspended or "floating" in the atmosphere.

HST shows that winds in Jupiter's upper atmosphere carry the high altitude smoke and dust in different directions than in the lower atmosphere. For example, the UV image shows a fainter cloud near 45 deg. south latitude, which does not appear in the violet image. The fainter cloud may be due to high altitude material which is drifting with the upper atmospheric winds to the north away from the polar regions. However, in the left-hand impact regions the clouds being observed are lower in the atmosphere where there is apparently no such northerly wind.

The violet images show the Great Red Spot, on the eastern (right) limb, one of Jupiter's moons crossing in front of the planet in the northern hemisphere (and its shadow on Jupiter's clouds on the left-hand side in the lower image), and the dark clouds above 3 of the impact sites near 45 deg. south latitude. In addition, Jupiter's polar aurora can also be seen in the far-ultraviolet images near both northern and southern poles.

The images were taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

Object Names: Jupiter, Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: J.T. Clarke, G.E. Ballester (University of Michigan), and J.T. Trauger (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and NASA

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

Jupiter Comet Impact Image Type: Astronomical Jupiter Comet Impact Jupiter Comet Impact Image Type: Astronomical Jupiter Comet Impact Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Sites on Jupiter Image Type: Astronomical Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Sites on Jupiter Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Sites on Jupiter Image Type: Astronomical Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Sites on Jupiter

All images from this news release:

To access available information and downloadable versions of images in this news release, click on any of the images below: