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This true color image of Jupiter is composed of three images taken in the blue, green and red regions of the spectrum. All images were taken from a distance of 77.6 million km on October 8, 2000, around 16:57 UTC/SCET (spacecraft event time). The resolution is 466 km. Different chemical compositions of the cloud particles lead to different colors; the cloud patterns reflect different physical conditions -- updrafts and downdrafts -- in which the clouds form. The bluish areas are believed to be regions devoid of clouds and covered by high haze. The Great Red Spot (below and to the right of center) is a giant atmospheric storm about 2 Earths across and over 300 years old, with peripheral winds of 300 miles per hour. This image shows that it is trailed to the west by a turbulent region, caused by an atmospheric flow around the northern perimeter of the Spot. The small very white features in this region are lightning storms, which were seen by the Galileo spacecraft when it photographed the night side of Jupiter. Cassini will track these lightning storms and measure their lifetimes and motions when it passes Jupiter in late December and looks back at the dark side of the planet.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The imaging team consists of scientists from the US, England, France, and Germany. The imaging operations center and team lead (Dr. C. Porco) are based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.