I hope everyone has already taken my lead and stocked up on extra rifle ammo. No, the Oakland Raiders aren’t coming to town, but the news is just as disturbing. According to scientists, apparently the planet Jupiter has lost one of its two prominent stripes and they have no idea why. Recent images of the planet reveal that the southern band, called the south equatorial belt, is nowhere to be seen. When asked to comment, Scott Stapp said, “Sometimes bands just break up”. Hiyoooo!
The band was present at the end of 2009, right before Jupiter moved too close to the sun in the sky to be observed from Earth. When the planet emerged from the sun’s glare again in early April, its south equatorial belt was nowhere to be seen.
The bands may normally appear dark simply because pale, high-altitude clouds prevalent in other regions of the planet are missing there, revealing darker clouds below, says Glenn Orton of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “You’re looking into different layers of the cloud structures of the planet,” he told New Scientist. [io9]
Oh, well okay, so I guess maybe the stripe is still there after all. Apparently this has happened twice before, once back in 1973 and then again in the early 90s, so whenever Jupiter would like to stop Brett Favre-ing the solar system, just let me know. Thanks, science.