Juno Spacecraft Gives New Insight Into The Surface Of Jupiter

Juno Spacecraft Gives New Insight Into The Surface Of Jupiter

Juno Spacecraft Gives New Insight Into The Surface Of Jupiter

The winds at Jupiter's surface, some of the most powerful in the solar system, influence the planet's gravitational field, the latest observations show. Other research topics include better understanding the origin and driving force of the jets in Jupiter's atmosphere and measuring how Jupiter's axis moves in time, which will provide information on how density varies in the deepest layers of the planet.

For the previous year and a half, reports The Atlantic via Nature, the NASA spacecraft Juno has been circling Jupiter and collecting reams of data.

The findings are published in four different sections of the journal Nature, and describe the planet's gravitational field, atmospheric flows, interior composition and polar cyclones.

After a painstaking analysis that modeled all known sources of acceleration for Juno, including the minute contributions from sunlight warming the spacecraft, Iess's team found a large north-south asymmetry in Jupiter's gravitational field-a clear sign of material flowing beneath the cloud tops on deep atmospheric winds. At the south pole, five massive storms are arranged in a pentagon-like shape around a storm. At the north pole, eight storms surrounded one storm at the center. NASA says the wind gusts as high as 220 miles per hour (350 kilometers per hour) in the vortexes, and each of them is several thousand miles across. All cyclones lasted for seven months.

The stunning new image presents multiple massive swirling masses of Jupiter cyclone storms ravaging its atmosphere and its surface.

They also didn't expect the cyclones to be so close together and so symmetrical.

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"We'd never seen anything like it", O'Neill said. These bands rotate at speeds that differ by up to 100 meters per second.

The giant planet has other fierce storms as well, and recent studies have revealed quite a few things about them. The team expected the winds in Jupiter's interior to be affected by the planet's density distribution, similar to how winds on Earth are caused by low and high pressure areas. There has been disagreement over whether the planet's bands are a weather system, comparable to the Earth's jet streams, or whether they are an aspect of a deeper-seated convection system that transports energy out of the interior. But according to rumor, Saturn is different in a very specific way-its dynamic weather appears to extend much deeper into the planet than Jupiter's, just as predicted.

By studying data about Jupiter's gravitational field, Kaspi and his colleagues discovered that those outer jet streams extend 3,000 kilometres below the cloud level.

Scientists say that on a gas giant planet the asymmetry seen in the zones and belts could only come from flows deep within the planet.

NASA launched the Juno mission on August 5, 2011 to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, look for solid planetary core, map magnetic field, measure water and ammonia in deep atmosphere, and observe auroras. Juno swings around the planet on an elliptical orbit about once every 53.5 days. On Feb. 7, Juno completed its 10th science orbit of Jupiter.

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