Featured Image: Mapping Jupiter with Hubble

Zonal wind profile for Jupiter, describing the speed and direction of its winds at each latitude. [Simon et al. 2015]

Zonal wind profile for Jupiter, describing the speed and direction of its winds at each latitude. [Simon et al. 2015]

This global map of Jupiter’s surface (click for the full view!) was generated by the Hubble Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program, which aims to create new yearly global maps for each of the outer planets. Presented in a study led by Amy Simon (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), the map above is the first generated for Jupiter in the first year of the OPAL campaign. It provides a detailed look at Jupiter’s atmospheric structure — including the Great Red Spot — and allowed the authors to measure the speed and direction of the wind across Jupiter’s latitudes, constructing an updated zonal wind profile for Jupiter.

In contrast to this study, the Juno mission (which will be captured into Jupiter’s orbit today after a 5-year journey to Jupiter!) will be focusing more on the features below Jupiter’s surface, studying its deep atmosphere and winds. Some of Juno’s primary goals are to learn about Jupiter’s composition, gravitational field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. You can follow along with the NASATV livestream as Juno arrives at Jupiter tonight; orbit insertion coverage starts at 10:30 EDT.

Citation

Amy A. Simon et al 2015 ApJ 812 55. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/812/1/55

Related Journal Articles