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Astron. Astrophys. 327, 1253-1261 (1997)

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The 1993 south equatorial belt revival and other features
in the Jovian atmosphere: an observational perspective

F. Moreno 1, A. Molina 1, 2 and J.L. Ortiz 1

1 Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, PO Box 3004, E-18080 Granada, Spain
2 Departamento de Fsica Aplicada, Universidad de Granada, Spain

Received 20 May 1997 / Accepted 21 July 1997


An excellent-quality set of images of the 1993 Jovian South Equatorial Belt (SEB) revival are shown and discussed. For the first time, this major SEB event was recorded since the very early stages of its development to its end at a variety of wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared region of the spectrum. Our analysis supports, at least for the locus B, the Reese theory of the presence of three sources uniformly rotating with respect to System III from which the SEB disturbances develop. Other Jovian features were also present in these images, such as the activity in the South Temperate Belt or the presence of the so-called methane spots, which are shown to be photometrically analogous to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. A general characterization of all the Jovian regions at the time of the South Equatorial Belt disturbance is done by computing the limb darkening coefficients as a function of latitude and wavelength. This provides a useful reference to compare with other future measurements. The limb darkening coefficient at the brightest spot associated to the SEB event in April shows a different behaviour in its wavelength dependence as compared to all the other Jovian regions, a result that would imply a different particle loading and/or particle size distribution in those regions as a consequence of vigorous dynamics.

Key words: planets and satellites: individual: Jupiter

Send offprint requests to: F. Moreno, e-mail: fernando@iaa.es


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: April 6, 1998