A dark
patch of hydrocarbon haze, wider than Earth, develops and
swirls in a new movie clip from ultraviolet images taken by
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, or

Observations in the ultraviolet part of the light
spectrum reveal features in Jupiter’s stratosphere that are
transparent in the visible-light portion of the
spectrum. One surprise is the dark vortex whose birth and
migration can be seen during the 11-week span of the movie
taken while Cassini was approaching Jupiter in late
2000. Development of this feature resembles development of
ozone holes in Earth’s stratosphere in that both processes
appear to occur only within confined masses of high-altitude
polar air. The similarity may help scientists understand
both processes better.

The movie clip and a still image mapping all 360 degrees
of Jupiter in ultraviolet are available online from NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., at


and from the Cassini imaging team, based at the Boulder,
Colo., campus of the Southwest Research Institute, at


A video file related to this release will air on NASA
Television March 13 and 14 during the NASA TV video file
feed scheduled for noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and
midnight EST. NASA TV is broadcast on GE-2, transponder 9C,
C-Band, located at 85 degrees West longitude. The frequency
is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical and audio is
monaural at 6.8 MHz. For general questions about NASA video
files, contact Fred Brown, NAS

Cassini made its closest pass to Jupiter on Dec. 30,
2000, gaining a gravitational boost for reaching its main
destination, Saturn, in 2004. More information about the
mission is available at http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov . Cassini
is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency
and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the Cassini and
Galileo missions for NASA’s Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

A TV, Washington, D.C. (202)