NASA Releases New Images Of Gas Giant Jupiter


What is so different about Jupiter is that the planet is filled with enormous cyclones that are affected in ways that have never before been seen in our solar system.

The out-of-this-world images, which are derived from data collected from NASA's Juno spacecraft, show a multitude of massive cyclones on Jupiter, churning around the planet's north and south poles.

Jupiter is known as the gas planet in our galaxy, and NASA's findings indicate that the atmospheric winds of the planet can be found deep in its atmosphere and that these last longer inside.

The finding is important to understand the structure, core mass, nature and eventually the origin of Jupiter.

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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. The new revelations changed the perspective of the gas giant completely and scientists claim that it is like looking at a completely new planet. This is accredited to NASA'S Juno mission orbit, which is unlike Earth and other spacecraft orbits that only allow the sighting of Jupiter's equatorial regions.

Jupiter's north pole (shown above) features one cyclone surrounded by eight similarly sized cyclones with diameters for all averaging between 2,500 to 2,900 miles. Now, we have been able to observe the polar weather up-close every two months. The initial planning is that the vessel will complete its mission this July, but NASA can extend it. Juno is the second vessel that traveled around Jupiter since Galileo preceded 1995-2003.

A truly striking result released in the Nature papers is the handsome new imagery of Jupiter's poles captured by Juno's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument. Refined measurements of Jupiter's uneven gravity field enabled the Weizmann Institute of Science's Yohai Kaspi in Rehovot, Israel, and his colleagues to calculate the depth of the jet streams at about 3,000 km.

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

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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. It's like going from a 2-D picture to a 3-D version in high definition. Jupiter's atmosphere takes up 1 per cent of its total mass - it might sound like a small proportion, but its huge compared to the Earth's atmosphere which is only a millionth of its total mass. A feature such as it is something that is like nothing else that has been observed so far in the solar system.

Another Juno result released today suggests that beneath the weather layer, the planet rotates almost as a rigid body."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.

"The very centre may contain a core made of high pressure and high-temperature rocks and perhaps water, but it is believed to be fluid as well, not solid", said planetary scientist Tristan Guillot of the Université Côte d'Azur in Nice, another of the research leaders.

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