As anyone who has taken Astro C10 knows, (and yeah, that’s probably most Berkeley students) the solar system is really cool. Just ask anyone: new stuff shows up on planets all the time. For example, a brown stripe that had disappeared on Jupiter is now back.

We’ll leave the technical jargon to the people who, you know, actually know stuff, but we are still able to coo in awe at this discovery. An amateur astronomer noticed the stripe’s reappearance and UC Berkeley profs (along with other people from other universities) made “follow-up observations.” Sure enough, the stripe is back.

Basically, the stripe seemed to disappear because there were clouds over it, making it appear white. This cloud deck, made of white ammonia ice, obscures the lower brown clouds, making them appear to fade away. This only happens in the South Equatorial Belt of Jupiter, so it was a mystery to scientists. They think that storms make the white cloud belt brighter, thus doing away with the dark brown stripe.

But now it’s back (back again). And an amateur spotted it, paving the way for amateurs everywhere. Thanks, dude.

Image source: NASA
Jupiter gets its stripe back [UCBerkeleyNews]


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