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

Jupiter’s turmoil more than skin deep

Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard Juno captured an infrared image of Jupiters North and South Polar Regions.

One group uncovered a constellation of nine cyclones over Jupiter's north pole and six over the south pole.

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. The surrounding cyclones range in diameter from 4,000 to 4,600 kilometers across.

A computer-generated image showing Jupiter's south pole.

Adriani explained that the width of each of the northern cyclones is the distance between New York City and Naples, and the Southern cyclones are even more massive in comparison. The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 350 kmph.

The co-investigator also added that the remarkable feature about the cyclones is that they are enduring and very close together. There is nothing else like it that we know of in the solar system. Less is also the lead author of a paper included in the journal "Nature".

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. Interestingly, even though the Cyclones are spaced tightly, they still remain distinct and have morphologies that are individual.

What are the implications of the Juno finding?

By better understanding these strong jet streams and the gravity field, Mr. Kaspi said scientists can better decipher the core of Jupiter.

"Galileo viewed the stripes on Jupiter more than 400 years ago", said Yohai Kaspi, Juno co-investigator from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, and lead author of a Nature paper on Jupiter's deep weather layer.

The scientists said Jupiter's jet streams, related to the familiar stripes on its surface, plunge some 3,000 km (1,800 miles) below cloud level, and that its deep interior is comprised of a fluid hydrogen and helium mixture that rotates as if it were a solid body.

NASA's Juno Mission has revealed Jupiter's cyclone clusters mystery and showed that a certain amount of polygonally shaped cyclones that lye deep in 1,900 miles into the surface that are now visible thanks to NASA's efforts.

Luciano Less, co-investigator from Sapienza University in Rome said, "Juno's measurement of Jupiter's gravity field indicates a north-south asymmetry, similar to the asymmetry observed in its zones and belts". Thus, the magnitude of the asymmetry in gravity determines the depth of the jet streams.

Juno's data showed a small but significant asymmetry between the gravitational field of Jupiter's northern and southern hemispheres, driven by the huge jet streams.

These astonishing science results are yet another example of Jupiter's curve balls and a testimony to the value of exploring the unknown from a new perspective with next-generation instruments.

- said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.

Another of the studies in this week's Nature finds that Jupiter's crisscrossing east-west jet streams actually penetrate thousands of kilometres beneath the visible cloud tops.



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