Holy wow. Watch that video. That is Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, like you’ve never seen it before.
Stunning, isn’t it? Absolutely gorgeous.
The pictures were taken by the Hubble telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, and are some of the most detailed pictures of Jupiter’s atmosphere ever. They were then stitched together into this beautiful video. In the pictures, NASA scientists spotted a pattern not seen on the planet since Voyager 2.
In Jupiter’s North Equatorial Belt, the researchers found an elusive wave that had been spotted on the planet only once before, decades earlier, by Voyager 2. In those images, the wave is barely visible, and nothing like it was seen again, until the current wave was found traveling at about 16 degrees north latitude, in a region dotted with cyclones and anticyclones. Similar waves – called baroclinic waves – sometimes appear in Earth’s atmosphere where cyclones are forming.
“Until now, we thought the wave seen by Voyager 2 might have been a fluke,” said co-author Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “As it turns out, it’s just rare!”
The images also confirmed Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is shrinking, because it is a bitch. Look how fucking small it is up there. Wack.