Monday, 19 October 2015

Jupiter Weather Report: 2015/16 Apparition

[Work in Progress]

Jupiter will be intensely scrutinised over the next six or seven months to understand the state of the atmosphere immediately prior to the arrival of the Juno spacecraft in July 2016.  The spacecraft team hopes to use guidance from the citizen science record to target specific features of interest, from storms and plumes to large-scale changes in Jupiter's banded structure.  At the end of the last apparition, we were awaiting both an outbreak on the North Temperate Belt jetstream and an expansion event in the North Equatorial Belt.

Some of the first images of the apparition started to arrive in October 2015, and have once again been assembled into a glorious map by Marco Vedovato of the Italian Amateur Astronomers Planet Section.  He uses the WinJUPOS software tool to create global maps of Jupiter regularly during the apparition - his index of maps can be found here.

JUPOS map of Jupiter at the start of the 2015/16 apparition (October 15-18 2015).  Credit:  M. Vedovato.
South Tropical Domain:
The GRS remains extremely orange in colour, with chaotic activity in its northwestern wake region.

North Tropical Domain:
White Spot Z (WSZ) is still apparent on the ragged northern edge of the NEB near 19N, but a conspicuous new Red Spot can also be seen sat between the NTropZ and the NEB.  There are no signs yet of the NEB expansion event starting.

South Temperate Domain:
The chain of Anticyclonic White Ovals (AWOs) still persists in the South South Temperate Belt near 40S.

North Temperate Domain:
The northern barges on the North Temperate Belt (NTB) that were so prominent for much of the previous apparition are no longer quite so visible.