Mosaic of Jupiter's equatorial region at 756 nanometers (nm). The mosaic covers an area of 34,000 kilometers by 22,000 kilometers. The near-infrared continuum filter shows the features of Jupiter's main visible cloud deck. The dark region near the center of the mosaic is an equatorial "hotspot" similar to the Galileo Probe entry site. These features are holes in the bright, reflective, equatorial cloud layer where warmer thermal emission from Jupiter's deep atmosphere can pass through. The circulation patterns observed here along with the composition measurements from the Galileo Probe suggest that dry air may be converging and sinking over these regions, maintaining their cloud-free appearance. The bright oval in the upper right of the mosaic as well as the other smaller bright features are examples of upwelling of moist air and condensation.
North is at the top. The mosaic covers latitudes 1 to 19 degrees and is centered at longitude 336 degrees West. The planetary limb runs along the right edge of the image. Cloud patterns appear foreshortened as they approach the limb. The smallest resolved features are tens of kilometers in size. These images were taken on December 17, 1996, at a range of 1.5 million kilometers by the Solid State Imaging system aboard NASA's Galileo spacecraft.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.
This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov. Background information and educational context for the images can be found at URL http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo. Image Credit: NASA/JPL