Cyclone clusters rage over Jupiter's poles

Cyclone clusters rage over Jupiter's poles

Cyclone clusters rage over Jupiter's poles

Bands of raging winds, moving in different latitudes and partially opposite directions around the planet, form a light-dark pattern that shapes the appearance of the planet.

Based on the asymmetry in the gravitational fields between north to south, the researchers determined that the wind belts - those stripes observed by Galileo - extend 3,000 km (almost 1,900 mi) deep. Next, two additional teams (one led by Yohai Kaspi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the other by Tristan Guillot of the Côte d'Azur Observatory in France) delved deeper into complementary subsets of the data.

'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. Since then it's been orbiting the planet, taking pictures and measuring the planet's profile in infrared, microwave, ultraviolet, gravity and magnetism-and answering questions scientists have had about Jupiter for decades. "Now that we know the gravity signature of the atmosphere it will help us in better understanding the interior structure, core mass and eventually the origin of Jupiter".

NASA's Juno probe has captured incredible images of the huge cyclones that surround Jupiter's north and south poles - and they're unlike anything in the solar system.

However, there's also a downside to the Juno mission: it offered so much valuable data that it's gonna be very hard to top it. 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.

The interior of Jupiter is just as intriguing as the planet's dazzling surface, with a swirling mixture of liquid hydrogen and helium at its center, vast atmospheric jet streams and exotic gravitational properties, scientists said on Wednesday.

Outside of giving us more information about Jupiter, which is significant in and of itself, Juno's data gives us insights into the beginnings of our solar system.

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Juno is now scheduled to remain in orbit around Jupiter until July 2018, but NASA is looking at ways to extend the mission.

Another study in this week's journal Nature finds that Jupiter's jet streams actually penetrate far beneath the visible cloud tops. The geometric arrays of storms is baffling as each of these storms is arrayed around one cyclone over the north and south poles-unlike any storm formation seen in the universe. Recent data from Juno shows us that neither is the case. 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. They also found that the speed of the above-mentioned winds extend some 3,000 km beneath the cloud level, dropping in intensity with altitude.

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

Principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute Scott Bolton said the new science results are yet another example of Jupiter's curve balls.

"Each one of the northern cyclones is nearly as wide as the distance between Naples, Italy and New York City - and the southern ones are even larger than that".

Its north pole is dominated by a central cyclone surrounded by eight circumpolar cyclones with diameters ranging from 4,000 to 4,600 kilometres across.

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