NASA's Juno finds Jupiter's poles are ridden with cyclones


NASA spacecraft Juno has collected new data on its mission to Jupiter revealing some of the swirling inner mysteries of the giant gas-planet.

Juno was able to take JIRAM pictures of Jupiter's poles, a fact that helped scientists a lot in getting them to clearly see how the weather changes in those regions.

And there's more. Another study using data from Juno's gravity measurements reveals that Jupiter's counterrotating stripes are a two-dimensional representation of a vast three-dimensional jet stream structure deep inside the planet, and these jets are deeply embedded within the planet's powerful gravitational field.

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

The planet's asymmetry according to NASA "can only come from flows deep within the planet" in this the planets weather and temperature have great influence as well on characteristic zones and belts. The deeper the jets, the more mass they contain, leading to a stronger signal expressed in the gravity field. Thus, the magnitude of the asymmetry in gravity determines the depth of the jet streams.

Juno co-investigator from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, Yohai Kaspi, explained the mission's breakthrough to understanding the asymmetry of the planet.

For those that were more than excited to find out what Juno saw on Jupiter, we are to tell you all about it. This mass is significantly larger than Earth's. Based on Juno's measurements, the scientists found out that hydrogen and helium gases make up the planet's core and beneath the layer of atmosphere, Jupiter rotates as a solid mass of ball. JIRAM probes the weather layer down to 30 to 45 miles (50 to 70 kilometers) below Jupiter's cloud tops.

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The measurements taken by Juno showed scientist that Jupiter has a pretty huge weather layer, extending to lengths that were thought to be impossible.

"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. They have very violent winds, reaching, in some cases, speeds as great as 220 miles per hour (350 kph).

The co-investigator also added that the remarkable feature about the cyclones is that they are enduring and very close together.

We know that by now Juno has made around 10 passes over Jupiter, the 11 one going to happen on the 11of April. It's only the second spacecraft to circle the planet; Galileo did it from 1995 to 2003.

It's also odd that the cyclones at the north and south pole on Jupiter aren't the same. They reveal a blazing mix of reds, oranges, and yellows-cyclones swirling around each other to create an nearly artificial looking color collage near Jupiter's south pole.

The polar cyclones at both the poles are densely packed to such an extent that the spiral arm of one cyclone comes in contact with the other. 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.