Mosaic of a belt-zone boundary near Jupiter's equator. The images that make up the four quadrants of this mosaic were taken within a few minutes of each other and show Jupiter's appearance at 732 nanometers (nm). Sunlight at 732 nm is weakly absorbed by atmospheric methane. This absorption lowers the total amount of scattered light detected by the Galileo spacecraft while enhancing the fraction that comes from higher in Jupiter's atmosphere where less methane is present. The features of the lower ammonia cloud deck that are seen at 756 nm remain visible, but features in the higher, diffuse cloud are made more apparent.
The bowed shape of the clouds in the center of the image is created by a combination of stretching in the eastward direction by strong winds and stretching in the north-south direction by weaker winds. The precise shape of the bow and the eastward wind speeds can be measured. The north-south wind speeds, too small to be directly measured, then can be calculated. These images may provide the first indirect measurement of Jupiter's north-south winds.
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 http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/sepo.