Science

Juno spacecraft providing 'unprecedented' info — Tour Jupiter

Juno spacecraft providing 'unprecedented' info — Tour Jupiter

US space agency NASA releases a spectacular new imagery of the largest known planet in the solar system, Jupiter.

The findings, overall, are set to improve the understanding of the planet's interior structure, core mass, and ultimately, its origin.

"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, who is working on the Juno mission from the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.

Astronomers have snapped a stunning photo of Jupiter's "twilight zone", or where sunset and sunrise meet on the planet's surface. Since details about anything Jupiter related have always been a complete mystery for scientists, these new measurements done by Juno shed some light on a couple of topics.

The Juno spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July of 2016, sent back photos that provide information about Jupiter that was previously unattainable.

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. Thus, the magnitude of the asymmetry in gravity determines how deep the jet streams extend.

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. "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". This mass is significantly larger than Earth's. 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.

"That is much more than anyone thought and more than what has been known from other planets in the Solar System", says Kaspi.

NRA swiftly files lawsuit to block new Florida gun law
Student activists from the school where the shooting took place followed the bill's track closely and called it "a baby step". It also seeks to improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies. "Am I glad to see action? Yes".

These discoveries and others are detailed in a series of papers published this month in the journal Nature. Its south pole, shown below during an earlier flyby, includes a single cyclone surrounded by five swirling counterparts with diameters for all ranging between 3,500 to 4,300 miles.

JIRAM probes Jupiter's weather layer to up to 50 to 70 kilometers under the planet's cloud tops.

"Prior to Juno we did not know what the weather was like near Jupiter's poles".

Tristan Guillot, a Juno co-investigator from the France University, said, "This is really an fantastic result, and future measurements by Juno will help us understand how the transition works between the weather layer and the rigid body below". The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 350 kmph. Finally, and perhaps most remarkably, they are very close together and enduring.

We know that Jupiter is about 11 times bigger than Earth, yet its size doesn't slow its rotation; Jupiter has a rotation of 10 hours. 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.

Almost all the polar cyclones, at both the north and south pole of Jupiter, are so tightly packed that their spiral arms are in contact with the cyclone located just next to them. Interestingly, even though the Cyclones are spaced tightly, they still remain distinct and have morphologies that are individual.

"The question is, why do they not merge?" said Adriani. "We are beginning to realize that not all gas giants are created equal". Each cyclone measures several thousand kilometres across. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. This was confirmed by measurements taken with Juno after the spacecraft arrived at the gas giant.