Scientists spot cyclone pentagon on Jupiter, unlock secrets of interior

An illustration depicting the U.S. space agency's Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter's Great Red Spot. NASA  JPL-Caltech  Handout via REU

"What was unexpected is their stable appearance, close clustering and symmetry around each of the poles". Juno is in such an orbit, completing one loop every 53 days. The polar regions of Jupiter haven't been studied previously because they are hard to see from Earth. "But there was no data set capable of answering this question until Juno".

Researchers poring over these datasets are finally uncovering some of the planet's mysteries.

Prof. Kaspi, together with Dr. Eli Galanti, both of the Institute's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was preparing for this analysis even before Juno was launched almost seven years ago.

This handout picture provided by Nature and released by NASA/SWRI/JPL/ASI/INAF/IAFPS on March 8, 2018 shows Jupiter's South Pole in a mosaic of images acquired by the Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper at wavelengths. The south pole is similar, but has just six cyclones surrounding the main storm. On the south pole of the planet is another central cyclone surrounded by five other cyclones ranging from 3,500 miles to 4,300 miles.

Jupiter's winds are tightly connected to the planet's gravitational and magnetic fields.

The researchers said that in future orbits they plan on using similar gravitational studies to investigate the depth and structure of Jupiter's iconic spot.

The origins of these cyclones and how they persist without merging, or letting another storm muscle in, remain unknown, however. Thought to be as old as the planet itself, these bands are sculpted by high-speed winds whipping around the orb in opposite directions, and constitute the "face" Jupiter presents to the outside world.

Researchers trust the continuous mission's discoveries, which have been distributed in four papers in Nature, will enhance comprehension of Jupiter's inside structure, center mass and, in the long run, its birthplace. "This was certainly a surprise". The cyclones we see above stretch as deep as 1,900 miles into the planet. Back on Earth at least one group of astronomers is using ground-based telescopes to search for seismic waves rippling through the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, a phenomenon roughly analogous to earthquakes on our own world. At that boundary, atmospheric pressures 100,000 times higher than those at Earth's surface strip protons and electrons from the planet's hydrogen. The most famous feature of Jupiter is the Great Red Spot, but also noteworthy are the bands of light and dark clouds that make up what we can see of the planet from afar.

Guillot and his colleagues say the gravitational asymmetry is the result of complex atmospheric and interior wind flows. The deeper the jets, the more mass they contain, leading to a stronger signal expressed in the gravity field.

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

In order to take a look beneath the bands of clouds and get a better sense of what was happening closer to the surface, the team behind the Juno mission looked at the planet's gravitational field. Corresponding Author: Luciano Iess (Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy).

Commenting on all the latest work, Leigh Fletcher, from Leicester University, UK, said Juno was really now starting to deliver on its promise.

Related:

  • Japan Is Getting Some Switch Games We Aren't (Yet?)

    Japan Is Getting Some Switch Games We Aren't (Yet?)

    YoYo Games General Manager James Cox believes the partnership allows for many more games to be released on the platform. We've rounded up all the details on the hotly-anticipated game, including the release date, new characters, and items.
    Bombardment of Ghouta endangers aid convoy

    Bombardment of Ghouta endangers aid convoy

    A man stands on the rubble of a damaged building at the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria March 5, 2018. Many civilians have fled from the frontlines into Douma, a town in the enclave.
    Meghalaya also goes to NDA, Conard Sangma to be CM

    Meghalaya also goes to NDA, Conard Sangma to be CM

    The ruling NPF won 27 seats in Nagaland but pre-poll allies NDPP with 16 seats and BJP with 12 have the upper hand. Meanwhile, outgoing Chief Minister Manik Sarkar today tendered his resignation to Governor Tathagata Roy.
  • TMC chief Mamata approached DMK to form Third front, says Stalin

    TMC chief Mamata approached DMK to form Third front, says Stalin

    An offender is an offender", the chief minister said during an administrative meeting in Jhargram. "Delhi Chalo... She said, "Red Fort will be captured before BJP wins in Bengal.
    North Carolina mascot trucks Notre Dame leprechaun for layup

    North Carolina mascot trucks Notre Dame leprechaun for layup

    Notre Dame (20-13) meets fifth-ranked Duke , which is the tournament's second seed, in Thursday night's quarterfinal round. Look for Miami to push Virginia hard in the championship game, but the second half will belong to the Cavaliers.
    Spring time change is Sunday

    Spring time change is Sunday

    That means you'll lose one full hour of time and spend that first week perhaps groggy, disoriented and maybe even in a bad mood. Most of the United States will spring forward Sunday, except for Hawaii and Arizona , which opted out of daylight saving time .
  • Gunman takes 3 hostages at California veterans home

    Gunman takes 3 hostages at California veterans home

    About 80 Justin-Siena High School students who were on the campus rehearsing a play were also evacuated earlier this afternoon. Armoured police cars, ambulances, three police helicopters and a number of fire engines were deployed to the scene.
    Funding for Arkansas Works Approved by House & Senate

    Funding for Arkansas Works Approved by House & Senate

    Adding to the usual tension between chambers this year is the wide discrepancy between the House and Senate budgets. HB 1196 would require a huge amount of personal information from anyone wishing to circulate a petition.
    Mark Cuban Denies Sexual Assault Allegation

    Mark Cuban Denies Sexual Assault Allegation

    Brendan McGuire that Cuban was "very drunk" at the night club where the incident is alleged to have occurred. The police report explains that in one of the pictures, she appears uncomfortable.
  • Australia among 11 countries to sign TPP without US

    Australia among 11 countries to sign TPP without US

    Last month, Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the United States might return if it got a better deal. After the signing on Thursday, the agreement must also be ratified by member governments in order to go into effect.
    Uber founder Travis Kalanick launches fund to back startups in India, China

    Uber founder Travis Kalanick launches fund to back startups in India, China

    He did not disclose the size and nature of the fund but it is understood that he will use his personal earnings to kickstart it. VC Journal provides exclusive news and analysis about venture capital deals, fundraising, top-quartile investors and more.
    U.S.  special counsel probes Seychelles meeting with Russian

    U.S. special counsel probes Seychelles meeting with Russian

    According to the Times, Emirati officials believed the American and the Russian were representing their respective presidents. He specifically denied a year ago that the meeting was arranged to set up a back channel of communication with the Kremlin.

Comments

Other news