Juno Finds Clusters of Cyclones on Jupiter's Poles

Jupiter

Jupiter

"Since Jupiter is basically a giant ball of gas", said Kaspi, "the initial expectation was that there would be no asymmetries in the gravity field between the north and south".

Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System and NASA's Juno probe orbiting the gas giant has delivered some stunning images time and time again.

Juno data has indicated that the weather layer of Jupiter is more massive and extended much deeper into the planet than previously expected.

"Juno is created to look beneath these clouds", said planetary science professor Yohai Kaspi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who led part of the research using Juno's new measurements of Jupiter's gravity.

"As of recently, we just had a shallow comprehension of them and have possessed the capacity to relate these stripes to cloud includes along Jupiter's planes". When the results from Juno arrived, the measurement revealed large differences in the gravity field between north and south.

As well as studying the aurora and magnetosphere, Juno also helps scientists probe the gravitational field of Jupiter's interior in exquisite detail by monitoring small tweaks to the spacecraft's orbit - down to 3,000km below the clouds.

Cyclonic Geometric clusters churn over Jupiter's poles as the atmosphere is extensive than scientists thought. 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.

Kaspi added that the results were surprising because they indicate that the atmosphere of Jupiter is more massive and extends much deeper than theorized.

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But underneath, the planet's liquid core of hydrogen and helium rotates uniformly, behaving nearly like a solid body, researchers found.

"'Galileo viewed the stripes on Jupiter more than 400 years ago", said Yohai Kaspi, Juno co-investigator from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, and lead author of a Nature paper on Jupiter's deep weather layer.

Juno launched in 2011 with the ambitious mission of finally seeing beneath the dense clouds covering Jupiter.

There are eight cyclones around the north pole and five around the south pole. We've spent so long only being able to see the striped glory of the very top layer of its atmosphere that it's hard to think Juno and its suite of instruments won't learn something we never even imagined.

A mosaic of infrared images from Jupiter's South Pole shows the persistent hurricanes.

Calculations based on the findings reveal that Jupiter's atmosphere is 1% of its total mass. 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.

"We can not say how many mysteries are left to uncover", they wrote in an email. "There is nothing else like it that we know of in the solar system". New data gathered from the probe is helping astrophysicists understand the origins of its distinctive coloured bands and the behaviour of the huge cyclone systems that rage close to the planet's poles. They are about as wide as the distance between Naples and NY, noted lead author of the research Alberto Adriani, Juno co-investigator from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

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