Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Check Your Slood Supplies Now

Egad. Jupiter has lost one of its most prominent features -- a salmon-hued stripe twice the width of Earth that usually girds its southern hemisphere in the latitudes of the Great Red Spot.

Top: Jupiter, without stripe. Bottom: Jupiter, with southern stripe.

For a kid like me who spent hours creating drawing after drawing of Jupiter featuring the Great Red Spot with that stripe wrapping around it, this is big news.

New Scientist has an explanation, while the rest of the world's media -- especially in England, for some reason -- goes completely ape over this story: The stripe isn't gone, it's just concealed by high-altitude white clouds that occasionally cover the stripe. It did so when Pioneer 10 visited the planet in the late 1970s, and did so again in the 1990s, according to NS. England's The Daily Mail has some interesting info on Jupiter's odd weather patterns that may have caused the stripe's disappearance.

Why does this all remind me of a Bill Murray line from Ghostbusters:

"I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you, sir. I'm glad you're feeling better. You're still rather pale, though."

Jupiter, hope you get feeling better.


Maaike said...

Is that Abe Vigoda who went down in the qb tackle?

Mister Fweem said...

That indeed is him.