Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Jupiter has lost a belt!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

10-05-2010 17:22 CDT

Topics: pretty pictures, amateur astrophotos, optical telescopes, Jupiter

Via Daniel Fischer's Tweet about a blog entry by Astro BobI learned of something which should be obvious to anyone who has trained even a rather small telescope on Jupiter over the past few weeks: one of its iconic stripes is just plain gone.

Jupiter loses a belt

Anthony Wesley

Jupiter loses a belt
Over a period of a year, one of Jupiter's two main dark belts -- the dark stripes most visible in amateur telescopes -- faded completely away. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) is gone, leaving just the north belt (NEB) viewable in small telescopes.

Astro Bob explains in more detail, remarking: "Jupiter with only one belt is almost like seeing Saturn when its rings are edge-on and invisible for a time -- it just doesn't look right." But, apparently, this is an event that happens rather more frequently than the Saturnian equinox, once every 3 to 15 years.

The photos above are from Anthony Wesley, the same guy who discovered the impact scar on Jupiter last year; but you don't need to be as fabulous an astrophotographer as Wesley to see this for yourself. You do, however, need to get up early; Star Walk (my iPhone astronomy app of choice) tells me Jupiter rises around 3:30 a.m. right now. If you don't feel like getting up early, just check out Wesley's website for more wonderful photos of Jupiter.

Jupiter on May 8, 2010

Anthony Wesley

Jupiter on May 8, 2010
In April and May 2010, the south equatorial belt of Jupiter had faded into pinkness.
 
See other posts from May 2010

 

Or read more blog entries about: pretty pictures, amateur astrophotos, optical telescopes, Jupiter

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

Advocacy

Advocate for Space!

Fifteen years ago, Society members and passionate space advocates like you helped save the Pluto mission. Now we can do the same for missions to Europa and Mars.

Join over 26,400 people who have completed their petition and consider a donation to support advocacy efforts.

Sign Our Petition

Featured Images

Chang'e 5 T1 image of a potential landing site for Chang'e 5
Lunar Polar Hydrogen Mapper (LunaH-Map)
Soyuz TMA-18M liftoff
Soyuz TMA-18M launch crew
More Images

Featured Video

Bill Nye & Neil DeGrasse Tyson on a Roof

Watch Now

Selfies to Space!

Take flight with a selfie on LightSail™ in 2016!

Send a Selfie Now

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!