New Scientist reported the first sneak peak of the data from NASA’s Jupiter orbiting Juno mission at the beginning of this month, now the mission scientists have published spectacular new pictures and over forty new papers. The image revealed a cyclone on the Jupiter that’s about 600 miles in diameter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson) This enhanced-color view of Jupiter’s south pole was created by citizen scientist Gabriel Fiset, taken on December 11, 2016, from an altitude of about 32,400 miles (52,200 kilometers) above the cloud tops of Jupiter’s south pole.
While Juno continually orbits around Jupiter, it only comes closer to the gas giant once every 53 days, with its trajectory approaching the massive planet from above its north pole. The information that was transmitted by the Juno spacecraft was able to confirmed one theory researchers had, the largest planet in the solar system is more complex than the researchers originally thought. (NASA/SWRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran) This image, taken on March 27, 2017 by the JunoCam about 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) from the planet, highlights a swirling storm just south of one of the white oval storms on Jupiter.
We’ve seen photos of the stunning storms on Jupiter before, but now we know a bit more about them.
Juno has also taken measurements of Jupiter’s gravitational field, to see if it has a solid core, as some models have predicted, or no core at all. The storms are shown to be densely clustered and rubbing together.
Juno’s findings are “really going to force us to rethink not only how Jupiter works, but how do we explore Saturn, Uranus and Neptune”, Bolton said. Juno’s principal investigator, Scott Bolton, ponders on this outer space phenomenon happening in Jupiter.
“We’re questioning whether this is a dynamic system, and are we seeing just one stage, and over the next year, we’re going to watch it disappear, or is this a stable configuration and these storms are circulating around one another?” said Bolton. The sampled MWR data indicates that Jupiter’s mysterious belts and zones are living up to their name, as the belt near the equator is evident all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes are not so steadfast and seem to transform into other structures.
The probe has also detected an overwhelming abundance of ammonia deep down in the atmosphere, and a surprisingly strong magnetic field in places – roughly 10 times greater than Earth’s. As Juno gets closer to Jupiter’s cloud layer, the field variance goes up-NASA describes it as “lumpy”.
These images were taken during Juno’s close flyby of Jupiter as it speeds through the clouds of the planet, passing the north and south poles in a matter of two hours. And, like our planet, Jupiter has northern and southern lights, but as of now, its auroras look to be quite different from our own. The next one will be in July, with investigators targeting the Great Red Spot.