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Jupiter’s Atmosphere Reveals Surprising New Feature with Webb Telescope

The Webb Telescope, NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, recently made an amazing discovery about Jupiter’s atmosphere. The telescope was able to spot an unexpected feature never before seen on the gas giant.

By utilizing the infrared capabilities of the Webb, a team of scientists observed a pattern of thin, bright clouds in the atmosphere near the planet’s equator. According to the team, this feature was not picked up in earlier observations, which has surprised many in the research community.

Typically, Jupiter’s atmosphere consists of dark stripes of clouds that run parallel to it’s equator and bright clouds that form an oval around the planet’s Southern Hemisphere. The unexpected feature, however, is a thin, bright band of clouds stretching across the equator.

The team is still trying to figure out the exact nature of this newfound feature. It could be a result of a process called convective instability which occurs when different temperatures and levels of humidity interact to create large-scale clouds. It could also be an effect of the planet’s strong auroral belts, spectral features, or changing viewing angles.

Furthermore, the team notes that any major persistent features in Jupiter’s atmosphere are usually linked to a shifting climate. Since the new feature appears to stick around, it could be tangible evidence of a changing climate on the gas giant.

The discovery of this unexpected feature in Jupiter’s atmosphere will likely be studied for years to come. It could help scientists better understand the atmospheres of planets beyond our Solar System, giving us a better understanding of the conditions these planets need in order to be hospitable to life.

The Webb Telescope is scheduled to be launched in 2021 and will undoubtedly provide us with thousands of more discoveries like this one. Its incredible capabilities have already greatly expanded scientists’ knowledge of the Universe, and will undoubtedly continue to do even more for years to come.

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