Stephen James O'Meara's Secret Sky: Back from the dead
November 2010: Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt practices its disappearing act once again.
September 27, 2010
Of all the planets available to small-telescope users, Jupiter is the most satisfying. It's also one of the most mysterious. Who hasn't gone to the eyepiece expecting to see the planet's dusky polar regions and two dark equatorial belts surrounded by bright zones? We like to rely on these features to be present, especially when showing Jupiter to the public. But the giant doesn't always comply.
Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt disappeared in May 2010, as it does every 15 to 20 years. Just why it does so remains a mystery, but there’s no doubt that the belt will one day return.
Photo by Christopher Go
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