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  Astronomers analyze Jupiter’s ‘stripes’

 

Narrator:   This is Science Today. Gaseous planets like Jupiter are covered with stripes, which astronomers call belts and zones.

de Pater:   And people still don't know what really causes the color of these things, but typically the white zones indicate gas rising up in the atmosphere and at the same time, it's cooling down. When it gets cold enough, clouds will form just like we get clouds in our Earth's atmosphere.

Narrator:   Imke de Pater, chair of the University of California, Berkeley's astronomy department, explains that in the belts, which are dark, gas rises up in the zones, then descends back down.

de Pater:   So this gas is dry, not much ammonia gas. It could be that these brown layers are different types of clouds. Maybe there is some sulfur in those clouds, which might color them brown, but really people don't know yet what it is.

Narrator:   For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.