Banded wind-blown clouds on Jupiter

Banded wind-blown clouds on Jupiter

. The traditional nomenclature of Jupiter’s light and dark bands of clouds (left) is given in abbreviated form (center). The dark bands are called belts, denoted by “B”, the light bands are known as zones, or “Z”, and the rest of each name is based on climatic regions at the corresponding latitudes on Earth. North, letter “N” is at the top, and south, denoted by “S”, is at the bottom. The equatorial, or “E”, bands are in the middle, the tropical, “TR”, bands on each side of the equator, and the temperate, “T”, ones at mid-latitudes. Far northern latitudes are denoted by “NN”, far southern latitudes by “SS”, and the polar regions by “P”. The image of Jupiter (right) was taken from the Cassini spacecraft on 7 December 2000, when Jupiter’s moon Europa cast a shadow on the planet. The arrows point in the direction of wind flow, and their length corresponds to the wind velocity, which can reach 180 meters per second near the equator. (Image courtesy of NASA and JPL.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University