Jupiter loses its stripe -

The planet Jupiter, which has been hanging around the solar system without doing much, has suddenly decided to give itself a make-over.

For no apparent reason, as far as boffins can make out, the gas giant has suddenly decided to shed one of its trademark red stripes and go for a different image.

Since humanity started to look a little closer at Jupiter, it has been dominated by two dark bands in its atmosphere, with one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere.

But now it looks like the lower stripe known as the Southern Equatorial Belt has disappeared leaving the southern half of the planet looking unusually bare.

Jupiter was wearing its stripes at the end of last year before it went behind the Sun on its orbit. When it came back three months later the belt had disappeared.

The strokers of beards say it is nothing to worry about and nothing to do with alien civilisations planting huge monoliths on the moon.

They say that Jupiter loses or regains one of its belts every ten or 15 years, although they don't know why.  It is probably a fashion thing.

More here.