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RE: Jupiter
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South equatorial belt on Jupiter has disappeared
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The disappearance of the South Equatorial Belt (SEB) after the superior conjunction of Jupiter is not unprecedented; it had previously disappeared in 1973 and 1990.

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L

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Interplanetary observers have noted that the gas giant has looked a little naked of late - it's lost one of its iconic stripes.
It's noticeable for anyone with even a "relatively small telescope", according to The Planetary Society, although what constitutes a "small telescope" for the Planetary Society doesn't necessarily mean it will fit under a Christmas tree.

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Ed ~ A 60mm telescope will show features on the planet

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Jupiter south equatorial belt
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Jupiter loses a stripe

Jupiter has lost one of its prominent stripes, leaving its southern half looking unusually blank. Scientists are not sure what triggered the disappearance of the band.
Jupiter's appearance is usually dominated by two dark bands in its atmosphere - one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere.
But recent images of Jupiter taken by amateur astronomers show that the southern band - called the south equatorial belt - has disappeared.
The band was present at the end of 2009, right before Jupiter moved too close to the sun in the sky to be observed from Earth. When the planet emerged from the sun's glare again in early April, its south equatorial belt was nowhere to be seen.

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Jupjan0210.jpg
File image
Date: 2nd January, 2010


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Helium Rain on Jupiter Explains Lack of Neon in Atmosphere

On Earth, helium is a gas used to float balloons, as in the movie "Up." In the interior of Jupiter, however, conditions are so strange that, according to predictions by University of California, Berkeley, scientists, helium condenses into droplets and falls like rain. Helium rain was earlier proposed to explain the excessive brightness of Saturn, a gas giant like Jupiter, but one-third the mass.
On Jupiter, however, UC Berkeley scientists claim that helium rain is the best way to explain the scarcity of neon in the outer layers of the planet, the solar system's largest. Neon dissolves in the helium raindrops and falls towards the deeper interior where it re-dissolves, depleting the upper layers of both elements, consistent with observations.

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Jupiter may have a new ring that was created by a smash between moons.

The possible ring appears as a faint streak near Jupiter's moon Himalia in an image taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. The telescopic camera aboard the Pluto-bound probe snapped the ring in September 2006 as the craft was closing in on Jupiter in the lead-up to a close encounter with the planet the following February.
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Scientists Get First Look at Weather Inside the Solar Systems Biggest Storm

New ground-breaking thermal images obtained with ESO's Very Large Telescope and other powerful ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter's Great Red Spot, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system linking its temperature, winds, pressure and composition with its colour.
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New thermal images from powerful ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter's Great Red Spot, enabling scientists to make the first detailed interior weather map of the giant storm system.
The observations reveal that the reddest colour of the Great Red Spot corresponds to a warm core within the otherwise cold storm system, and images show dark lanes at the edge of the storm where gases are descending into the deeper regions of the planet. These types of data, detailed in a paper appearing in the journal Icarus, give scientists a sense of the circulation patterns within the solar system's best-known storm system.

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New technique to date the birth of Jupiter
Modelling crater formation on Ceres and Vesta, the two largest objects in the asteroid belt, may help pinpoint the age of the gas giant Jupiter.
It will also aid our understanding of data collected by NASA's Dawn space mission when it visits these objects in 2011. Scientists hope the combined data will give clues to the evolution of the entire Solar System.


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A new study that models the cratering history of Vesta and Ceres, which are the largest two objects in the asteroid belt, could help pinpoint when Jupiter began to form during the evolution of the early Solar System.
The study, carried out by scientists at the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, explored the hypothesis that one or both objects formed during Jupiter's formation by modelling their cratering histories during the birth of the giant planet.


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