Jupiter's mysterious jet-streams 'unearthly', finds Juno probe

Posted March 09, 2018

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.

The surface of Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in the solar system, consists of alternating bright and dark bands of gas and winds flowing in opposite directions at massive speed.

Likewise, observations of the atmospheric motions concluded that the planet's crisscrossing jet streams of winds extend some 3,000 kilometers (1,865 miles) deep, way much deeper than scientists expected.

The recent things uncovered are part of a four-article collection on Juno science results published in the journal Nature. "Until now, we only had a superficial understanding of them and have been able to relate these stripes to cloud features along Jupiter's jets". The images have been taken in different times while Juno was leaving the planet after the closest approach.

New data collected by NASA's Juno probe is giving scientists a unique look into the inner workings of Jupiter.

When Juno co-investigator Alberto Adriani and colleagues got handsome images from Juno's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument, they were stunned: Jupiter's poles were a stark contrast to the more familiar orange and white belts and zones encircling the gas giant at lower latitudes. 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. One suggested that the winds extend far down towards the surface, going as deep as 10000 kilometers that were driven by heat from the depths of the planet. Tristan Guillot, lead author of the paper on Jupiter's deep interior, said future measurements by Juno will be helpful in understanding how the transition works between the weather layer and the rigid body below.

Juno is finding weird things in Jupiter's vast cyclone clusters
Juno Peers Deep into Jupiter's Abyss to Reveal Weird Winds

Juno was launched in 2011 and entered Jupiter's orbit in 2016. Kaspi, are much stronger than the fiercest winds on Earth, and they have lasted for at least hundreds of years. Now, thanks to unprecedented findings from NASA's Juno spacecraft, we have a better idea about what happens at the core of this turbulent titan.

The discoveries include clusters of cyclones - nine at the North Pole and six at the South Pole.

While these storms might look like the same cyclone with branched arms, they are actually separate storms that are densely packed. However, as tightly spaced as the cyclones are, they have remained distinct, with individual morphologies over the seven months of observations detailed in the paper.

"The manner in which the cyclones persist without merging and the process by which they evolve to their current configuration are unknown", the researchers wrote.

Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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. The northern cyclones each range from between 4,000 and 4,600 km across in size. Its north pole is dominated by a central cyclone surrounded by eight circumpolar cyclones with diameters ranging from 2,500 to 2,900 miles (4,000 to 4,600 kilometers) across.