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Jupiter Loses a Stripe

30 May 2010, 17:51 UTC
Jupiter Loses a Stripe
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In the past month Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt, a ribbon of red nearly 18,000 miles wide, disappeared from telescopes. The disappearance was monitored by Australia's Anthony Wesley, who also discovered a comet striking Jupiter in 2009. No one knows what happened to the stripe, whether it has truly vanished or just been covered by a cloud layer. Scientists do not understand what happens in Jupiter's upper atmosphere, much less the planet's interior. Jupiter's gigantic storms, cloud bands and Red Spots are powered by mysterious forces in the planet interior. The largest planet gives off twice as much radiation as it receives from the Sun. It is hard to imagine what could be generating this much energy, but Jupiter's core would be a good place to find a Black Hole. A small singularity would produce heat, a magnetic field, and the vortices of stormy Jupiter.

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