This global movie of 70 days of Jupiter's cloud movements photographed by NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows that zones of eastward and westward winds cover the planet virtually from pole to pole.
Cassini's narrow-angle camera captured the images of Jupiter's atmosphere from October 1 to December 9, 2000, in the near-infrared region of the spectrum. The view here is a cylindrical projection centered in the planet's equator.
The movie allows tracking of individual storms' movements in the familiar zonal bands of the lower latitudes, in the swirling turbulence around the Great Red Spot and in the high latitudes where still images show chaotic mottling instead of stripes.
Cassini collected images of Jupiter for months before and after it passed the planet on December 30, 2000. Six or more images of the planet in each of several spectral filters were taken at evenly spaced intervals over the course of Jupiter's 10-hour rotation period. The entire sequence was repeated generally every other Jupiter rotation, yielding views of every sector of the planet at least once every 20 hours.
The images used for the movie shown here were taken every 20 hours through a filter centered at a wavelength of 756 nanometers, where there are almost no absorptions in the planet's atmosphere. Six images covering each rotation were mosaiced together to form a cylindrical map extending from 75 degrees north to 75 degrees south in latitude and covering 360 degrees in longitude. The movie consists of 84 such maps, spanning 70Earth days in time or 168 Jupiter rotations.
For more information, see the Cassini Project home page, http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/ and the Cassini Imaging Team home page, http://ciclops.lpl.arizona.edu/ciclops/ .
Cassini 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 mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.