This image of Jupiter's white ovals BC and DE was taken by the Galileo spacecraft
Click on image for full size
White Oval Trains
The white ovals seem to drift eastward faster than the underlying current which carries other cloud formations in the South Temperate Zone
(STZ). Since their birth
, the ovals have changed both their appearance
., and the rate of speed at which they drift to the east. The table below shows that the ovals have gradually slowed their rate of drift since their formation.
Oval FA drifted the fastest, and by 1987 was on the other side of Jupiter from where they were born. Oval BC is next eastward-most oval. Oval BC is also the biggest of the classic ovals. Oval BC and oval DE drift at different speeds, thus one might expect that they might run into each other. It seems however that for 60 years, BC and DE have had close encounters, coming to within 18 degrees of each other, but repel each other when they get too close. One will speed up, or the other will slow down so that they always stayed apart.
The three classic ovals are centered at -33 degrees in the southern hemisphere. Other white ovals in the vicinity are situated slightly southward of these three. Since BC is the largest of the ovals it seems to hog the space within the STZ, and not allow the other white ovals, WO1, WO2, and DE to get by. The picture shows a Hubble mosaic in which BC is the eastward-most member, with a train of white ovals trailing along behind.
In 1998, BC and DE had their final close encounter and merged to form a new oval called BE.
You might also be interested in:
The striped cloud bands on Jupiter are certainly not as straight as they appear to be in this picture! The picture shows that the striped pattern is divided into belts and zones, which are labeled. In...more
Atmospheres of the giant planets have definetely evolved from their formation out of the primitive solar nebula. How much they have evolved remains to be seen, however. Because of their enormous gravity,...more
The mesosphere of Jupiter is a region of balance between warming and cooling. That essentially means that nothing happens there. Except for diffusion, the atmosphere is still. Upper reaches of the atmosphere,...more
As on Earth, the atmosphere of Jupiter consists of a troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. The troposphere is the region where the visible clouds are to be found. The stratosphere, as...more
The stratosphere of Jupiter is a region of warming as determined by infrared measurements of methane (CH4) in the region. Like the troposphere, the stratosphere is warmed by the sun, warmed by Jupiter's...more
The troposphere of Jupiter is where the clouds are. Clouds form in regions of strong atmospheric motion, when condensation takes place. The troposphere is the region rapidly stirred by vertical motions....more
On Jupiter, the winds in the belts and zones blow first in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Wind blows east in a belt, and west in a zone. The clouds rise up in a belt, and drop down in a...more