· · · ·

North Polar Region

Zone on Jupiter

The northernmost banding patterns of Jupiter's atmosphere consist of a thin dark ring, the North North Temperate Belt, and a somewhat broader and paler region, the North North Temperate Zone. As Jupiter's atmosphere is dynamic, these features are not always clearly distinguishable, but at a latitude of between 40° and 50° North, the evident banding pattern gives way to a region that appears relatively undifferentiated, reaching to the planet's north pole. This is Jupiter's North Polar Region.

The North Polar Region is generally a mottled blue-grey in colouration, and though it shows less evident patterning than the more equatorial regions, it is nonetheless an active area. The north pole is surrounded by an atmospheric vortex, and unusual phenomena can arises within this powerful current. The Great Dark Spot (not to be confused with the Great Dark Spot on Neptune) was a remarkable example: a vast shadowy cloud that grew to thousands of kilometres in diameter before fading away over a period of months. It is likely that this phenomenon, which appears to be connected with Jupiter's magnetic field, recurs periodically.

Jupiter's magnetic field is extraordinarily extensive, and draws down the charged particles of the Solar Wind into the the planet's North and South Polar Regions. As on Earth, the result is an aurora. Jupiter's aurorae are most distinct in the X-ray spectrum, creating a shimmering and swirling crown of light around the North Polar Region, as well as its southern equivalent.


Related Entries