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Water in Jupiter's Atmosphere (click to enlarge)
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Water in Jupiter's Atmosphere
Date: 23 Apr 2013

This image shows the 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.

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

Credit: ESA/Herschel/T. CavaliƩ et al.; NASA/ESA/Reta Beebe (New Mexico State University)

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