Mosaic of Jupiter's northern hemisphere between 10 and 50 degrees latitude. Jupiter's atmospheric circulation is dominated by alternating eastward and westward jets from equatorial to polar latitudes. The direction and speed of these jets in part determine the color and texture of the clouds seen in this mosaic. Also visible are several other common Jovian cloud features, including large white ovals, bright spots, dark spots, interacting vortices, and turbulent chaotic systems. The north-south dimension of each of the two interacting vortices in the upper half of the mosaic is about 3,500 kilometers.
This mosaic uses the Galileo imaging camera's three near-infrared wavelengths (756 nanometers, 727 nanometers, and 889 nanometers displayed in red, green, and blue) to show variations in cloud height and thickness. Light blue clouds are high and thin, reddish clouds are deep, and white clouds are high and thick. The clouds and haze over the ovals are high, extending into Jupiter's stratosphere. Dark purple most likely represents a high haze overlying a clear deep atmosphere. Galileo is the first spacecraft to distinguish cloud layers on Jupiter.
North is at the top. The images are projected on a sphere, with features being foreshortened towards the north. The planetary limb runs along the right edge of the mosaic. Cloud patterns appear foreshortened as they approach the limb. The smallest resolved features are tens of kilometers in size. These images were taken on April 3, 1997, at a range of 1.4 million kilometers by the Solid State Imaging system (CCD) on 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.