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Beautiful images show the stripes of Jupiter in three different wavelengths

If you think Jupiter is beautiful in the visible light spectrum, wait until you see it in infrared and ultraviolet. Three new images of the planet have been released by the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, showing the planet in all its beauty in various wavelengths.

The visible light image of Jupiter (directly below), captured by the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope, will be the most familiar. The image shows the details of the bands around the planet, formed by rotating clouds which are endlessly swirling and changing. You can also see the famous Great Red Spot in the lower half of the image to the left, which is the result of the largest storm in the solar system. The storm is over 10,000 miles wide and has wind speeds of up to 268 mph.

In the upper half of the image, you can also see a long, slim brown feature called a brown barge, a type of weather formation that stretches nearly 45,000 miles across the planet.

This visible-light image of Jupiter was created from data captured on 11 January 2017 using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope.
This visible-light image of Jupiter was created from data captured on January 11, 2017, using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA/ESA/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/M.H. Wong and I. de Pater (UC Berkeley) et al. Acknowledgments: M. Zamani

In the infrared view of Jupiter (directly below), captured by the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, you can see warmer areas of the planet indicated in brighter colors. There are four notable hot spots just above the equator, while in this wavelength the Great Red Spot appears dark because of its clouds.

This infrared view of Jupiter was created from data captured on 11 January 2017 with the Near-InfraRed Imager (NIRI) instrument at Gemini North in Hawaiʻi, the northern member of the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. It is actually a mosaic of individual frames that were combined to produce a global portrait of the planet.
This infrared view of Jupiter was created from data captured on January 11, 2017, with the Near-InfraRed Imager (NIRI) instrument at Gemini North in Hawaii, the northern member of the international Gemini Observatory, a Program of the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab. It is actually a mosaic of individual frames that were combined to produce a global portrait of the planet. International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA, M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley) et al. Acknowledgments: M. Zamani

Finally, the stunning ultraviolet image directly below was also captured by Hubble. In this image, the Great Red Spot is dark but clearly visible. The infrared and visible light images pick up on the molecules that give the spot its distinctive color, called chromophores, and absorb blue and ultraviolet light.

This ultraviolet image of Jupiter was created from data captured on 11 January 2017 using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope.
This ultraviolet image of Jupiter was created from data captured on January 11, 2017, using the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA/ESA/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/M.H. Wong and I. de Pater (UC Berkeley) et al. Acknowledgments: M. Zamani

By comparing these three images, scientists are able to examine features they might miss if they looked in only one wavelength. They can also compare features across wavelengths, as all three images were captured at the same time, on January 11, 2017.

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Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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