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Galileo Imaging of Jupiter’s Atmosphere: The Great Red Spot, Equatorial Region, and White Ovals

Vasavada, Ashwin R. and Ingersoll, Andrew P. and Banfield, Don and Bell, Maureen and Gierasch, Peter J. and Belton, Michael J. S. and Orton, Glenn S. and Klaasen, Kenneth P. and DeJong, Eric and Breneman, H. Herbert and Jones, Todd J. and Kaufman, James M. and Magee, Kari P. and Senske, David A. (1998) Galileo Imaging of Jupiter’s Atmosphere: The Great Red Spot, Equatorial Region, and White Ovals. Icarus, 135 (1). pp. 265-275. ISSN 0019-1035. doi:10.1006/icar.1998.5984.

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During the first six orbits of the Galileo spacecraft's prime mission, the Solid State Imaging (SSI) system acquired multispectral image mosaics of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, an equatorial belt/zone boundary, a “5-μm hot spot” similar to the Galileo Probe entry site, and two of the classic White Ovals. We present mosaics of each region, approximating their appearance at visible wavelengths and showing cloud height and opacity variations. The local wind field is derived by tracking cloud motions between multiple observations of each region with time separations of roughly 1 and 10 hr. Vertical cloud structure is derived in a companion paper by Banfieldet al. (Icarus135, 230–250). Galileo's brief, high-resolution observations complement Earth-based and Voyager studies and offer local meteorological context for the Galileo Probe results. Our results show that the dynamics of the zonal jets and large vortices have changed little since Voyager, with a few exceptions. We detect a cyclonic current within the center of the predominantly anticyclonic Great Red Spot. The zonal velocity difference between 0° S and 6° S has increased by 20 m sec^(−1). We measure a strong northeast flow approaching the hot spot. This flow indicates either massive horizontal convergence or the presence of a large anticyclonic vortex southeast of the hot spot. The current compact arrangement of two White Ovals and a cyclonic structure greatly perturbs the zonal jets in that region.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Vasavada, Ashwin R.0000-0003-2665-286X
Ingersoll, Andrew P.0000-0002-2035-9198
Orton, Glenn S.0000-0001-7871-2823
Additional Information:© 1998 by Academic Press. Received September 19, 1997; revised April 1, 1998. We thank the Multimission Image Processing Lab at JPL, and especially Helen Mortensen, for their support of the imaging team. Joe Spitale and Lisa Gaskell helped with the image processing at Caltech. Adam Showman, James Cho, Sarah Stewart, and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments. This work was supported by NASA’s Planetary Atmospheres Program and the Galileo Project.
Group:UNSPECIFIED, UNSPECIFIED, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Jupiter atmosphere; atmospheric dynamics; image processing; spacecraft.
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences5763
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121212-081415024
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Official Citation:Ashwin R. Vasavada, Andrew P. Ingersoll, Don Banfield, Maureen Bell, Peter J. Gierasch, Michael J.S. Belton, Glenn S. Orton, Kenneth P. Klaasen, Eric DeJong, H.Herbert Breneman, Todd J. Jones, James M. Kaufman, Kari P. Magee, David A. Senske, Galileo Imaging of Jupiter's Atmosphere: The Great Red Spot, Equatorial Region, and White Ovals, Icarus, Volume 135, Issue 1, September 1998, Pages 265-275, ISSN 0019-1035, 10.1006/icar.1998.5984. (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:35930
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:12 Dec 2012 16:39
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:18

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