Science

Clusters of cyclones churn over Jupiter

Clusters of cyclones churn over Jupiter

- said Luciano Iess, Juno co-investigator from the Sapienza University of Rome, and lead author on a Nature paper on Jupiter's gravity field.

Here's another finding, courtesy of Juno: Unlike Saturn's enigmatic hexagonal (six-sided polygon) cloud structure over the ringed gas giant's north pole, Jupiter's northern cyclones form an octagonal (eight-sided) grouping.

"The result is a surprise because this indicates that the atmosphere of Jupiter is massive and extends much deeper than we previously expected", Mr. Kaspi said in an email.

NASA's Juno Mission has revealed Jupiter's cyclone clusters mystery and showed that a certain amount of polygonally shaped cyclones that lye deep in 1,900 miles into the surface that are now visible thanks to NASA's efforts.

Yohai Kaspi, co-author of the paper and a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, who led the research said: "That is much more than anyone thought and more than what has been known from other planets in the Solar System".

To date, Juno has completed 10 science passes over Jupiter and logged nearly 122 million miles (200 million kilometers), since entering Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016. The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 350 kmph.

More data needs to be analysed in order to fully understand what is going on beneath Jupiter's atmosphere and Kaspi and fellow co-workers are hoping that by studying some of Jupiter's other iconic features, such as the Great Red Spot, with the same methods they developed to characterise the jet-streams, they can understand how deep this giant storm extends as well. Less is also the lead author of a paper included in the journal "Nature".




This image is one in a series of images taken in a Juno mission experiment to capture the best results for illuminated parts of Jupiter's polar region.

The finding is important for understanding the nature and possible mechanisms driving these strong jet streams. "Now, we have been able to observe the polar weather up-close every two months", Alberto Adriani, Juno co-investigator from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome, said in a statement.

The gravity signature of the jet streams is bound with the gravity signal of Jupiter core.

Another Juno result released today suggests that beneath the weather layer, the planet rotates almost as a rigid body."This is really an wonderful result, and future measurements by Juno will help us understand how the transition works between the weather layer and the rigid body below", said Tristan Guillot, a Juno co-investigator from the Université Côte d'Azur, Nice, France, and lead author of the paper on Jupiter's deep interior. Juno's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument can measure the planet's heat percolating through the atmosphere, probing the weather systems up to 45 miles (72 kilometers) below, day or night.

"The very centre may contain a core made of high pressure and high-temperature rocks and perhaps water, but it is believed to be fluid as well, not solid", said planetary scientist Tristan Guillot of the Université Côte d'Azur in Nice, another of the research leaders. There is nothing else like it that we know of in the solar system.

It's also odd that the cyclones at the north and south pole on Jupiter aren't the same. Interestingly, even though the Cyclones are spaced tightly, they still remain distinct and have morphologies that are individual.


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