Sharpening up Jupiter

Amazing image of Jupiter taken in infrared light on the night of 17 August 2008 with the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) prototype instrument mounted on ESO's Very Large Telescope. This false colour photo is the combination of a series of images taken over a time span of about 20 minutes, through three different filters (2, 2.14, and 2.16 microns). The image sharpening obtained is about 90 milli-arcseconds across the whole planetary disc, a real record on similar images taken from the ground. This corresponds to seeing details about 300 km wide on the surface of the giant planet. The great red spot is not visible in this image as it was on the other side of the planet during the observations. The observations were done at infrared wavelengths where absorption due to hydrogen and methane is strong. This explains why the colours are different from how we usually see Jupiter in visible-light. This absorption means that light can be reflected back only from high-altitude hazes, and not from deeper clouds. These hazes lie in the very stable upper part of Jupiter's troposphere, where pressures are between 0.15 and 0.3 bar. Mixing is weak within this stable region, so tiny haze particles can survive for days to years, depending on their size and fall speed. Additionally, near the planet's poles, a higher stratospheric haze (light blue regions) is generated by interactions with particles trapped in Jupiter's intense magnetic field.

Credit:

ESO/F. Marchis, M. Wong, E. Marchetti, P. Amico, S. Tordo

About the Image

Id:eso0833a
Type:Observation
Release date:2 October 2008
Related releases:eso0833
Size:1730 x 1730 px

About the Object

Name:Jupiter
Type:• Solar System : Planet
• Solar System : Planet : Type : Gas Giant
• X - Solar System

Image Formats

Stor JPEG
294.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
96.3 KB

Wallpapers

1024x768
109.8 KB
1280x1024
166.3 KB
1600x1200
232.0 KB
1920x1200
270.2 KB
2048x1536
345.4 KB

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Near-IR
2.16 μmVery Large Telescope
MAD
Infrared
Near-IR
2.14 μmVery Large Telescope
MAD
Infrared
Near-IR
2.0 μmVery Large Telescope
MAD

 

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