Monday, 24 September, 2018

See Dramatic Cyclones Churning on Jupiter's Surface in These New NASA Photos

Jupiter Poles The eight cyclones orbiting Jupiter's north pole
Theresa Hayes | 11 March, 2018, 23:09

These poles are one of a kind in the solar system, being very close to one another, having very fast winds up to 350 kph, and being very large in size. In the northern pole, eight cyclones perimeter around the pole revolve around another cyclone, while in the south pole five such cyclones move around a sixth.

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. A feature such as it is something that is like nothing else that has been observed so far in the solar system.

On a gas planet, such an asymmetry can only come from flows deep within the planet; and on Jupiter, the visible eastward and westward jet streams are likewise asymmetric north and south.

Of all the images released by Juno to date, the computer-reconstructed infrared views of Jupiter's atmosphere, like the one pictured above, are particularly awe-inspiring.

Almost all the polar cyclones, at both the north and south pole of Jupiter, are so tightly packed that their spiral arms are in contact with the cyclone located just next to them.

"That is much more than anyone thought and more than what has been known from other planets in the Solar System", says Kaspi. The Jovian weather layer, as it has been called, is about 1 percent of Jupiter's mass and the largest depth that it goes to is 3 thousand kilometers. As a comparison, our atmosphere accounts for less than one-millionth of Earth's mass.

An global team of physicists studied the gas giant's atmosphere by measuring its gravity field using using radio waves emitted by NASA's Juno spacecraft during close flybys.

The depth to which the roots of Jupiter's famous zones and belts extend has been a mystery for decades. Nearly all the polar cyclones, at both poles, are so densely packed that their spiral arms come in contact with adjacent cyclones. Interestingly, even though the Cyclones are spaced tightly, they still remain distinct and have morphologies that are individual. "We know with Cassini data that Saturn has a single cyclonic vortex at each pole". The observation has led Adriani to believe that not all gaseous giant planets are created equal. The surrounding cyclones range in diameter from 4,000 to 4,600 kilometers across. Juno's 11th science pass will be on April 1. Launched in 2011, Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016 and peering beneath the thick ammonia clouds. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops - as close as about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers). 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. This was confirmed by measurements taken with Juno after the spacecraft arrived at the gas giant.