Water in Jupiter’s atmosphere

Water in Jupiter’s atmosphere


23/04/2013 10:00 am


Water map: ESA/Herschel/T. Cavalié et al.; Jupiter image: NASA/ESA/Reta Beebe (New Mexico State University)


Distribution of water in the stratosphere of Jupiter as measured with ESA's Herschel space observatory with the PACS instrument at 66.4 microns. The data have been superimposed over an image of Jupiter taken at visible wavelengths with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

A clear asymmetry is shown in the distribution of water, with more abundant in the southern hemisphere (white/cyan) and far less detected in the northern hemisphere (darker blue shades).

A new study using Herschel finally links Jupiter’s upper atmosphere water to the comet impact of Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994, during which 21 comet fragments struck the planet at intermediate southern latitudes.

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