DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 40. Outer Planets/Gas Giants IV
Poster, Highlighted on, Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:30-6:00pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[40.06] Hubble Space Telescope Observations in 1997, of a Dark, Oval, Vortex Spot in Jupiterís Stratosphere

J.W. Frost, F. Nasraddine, J. Rodriquez, J. Ruiz (LaGuardia Community College)

A Dark Vortex Spot in Jupiterís stratosphere is studied using data obtained in 1997 by the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The dark vortex is located in the North Polar Region near 60 degrees latitude and is roughly the size of the Great Red Spot. The center of the spot is located near 180 degrees longitude (system III). The Spot is evident in the images obtained with the F218W, F255W, F336W, F410M, and FQCH4N filters. HST data sets from 1994 to 1999 were looked at and this feature appeared only in 1997. All of the 1997 data was obtained on September 18th, except for one image taken with the F218W filter on July 30th. This dark polar vortex is similar to the Dark Vortex Spot that was observed in October to December 2000 by Cassini using two filters at 258nm and 451nm. Comparison with the Cassini observations shows that both spots occur at the same latitude and longitude. An auroral image (F160W) for the same time period indicates that the 1997 spot is within the auroral oval and close to the auroral ring. The spot is easily distinguished in the F218W and F255W images but is fainter in the F336W image. While in the F410M images, the spot is not apparent but faint trails associated with the spot are clearly evident. The methane band FQCH4N gives images similar to the F410M images. The pressures probed by F218W, F255W, F336W, and FQCH4N are 165 mbar, 370 mbar, 400 mbar, and 2 bar respectively. This implies that the spot is concentrated between 165-370mbar with trails located as far deep as 2bar. The origin and transient nature of the vortex will be explored. This work was supported by NASA NRA number 03-OSS-03 and NASA MUSPIN.


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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.