Why does Jupiter have stripes?

23 June 2020

Question

We've had this question from talanum1 on the forum: Why isn’t jupiter all evenly mixed, its still got its stripes?

Answer

Astronomer Matt Bothwell from the University of Cambridge had a quick answer to this one...

Matt - Well, so it's because yeah, Jupiter is not a, just a completely homogenous ball of stuff. Like the, like the pressure and the temperature and all that kind of stuff varies over the surface of the planet. And so that's, that's really what you're seeing. It's basically weather effects on the surface of Jupiter that it's just that it's telling you that there's all kinds of different pressures and temperatures and conditions around the surface.

Adam - Would it ever mix together given like all the time in the universe or is it always going to be this, this stripey ball in space?

Matt - No, it's always going to be a Stripey ball I mean, given that Jupiter is about 5 billion years old, the same as the rest of the solar system. If it was going to reach some kind of equilibrium, it would have done so by now.

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