New Juno Results Reveal The Weirdness Of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

News | NASA's Juno Probes the Depths of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New Juno Results Reveal The Weirdness Of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

"Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is nearly one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles (320 km) into the planet's atmosphere".

"We just know enough to know we were wrong", Southwest Research Institute scientist and principal investigator of the mission Scott Bolton said, The New York Times reported.

Thanks to the data regarding the depth of the storm, scientists know that no storm on Earth has winds as fast as the Great Red Spot, and that, as the MWR has revealed as much as it can, there is a possibility that the storm could be even deeper than the data reveals. NASA shared finding from the data on Monday at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Michael Janssen, Juno co-investigator from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained that Juno's instrument, Microwave Radiometer has the capability to probe deep inside Jupiter's atmosphere.

Jupiter's Great Red Spot comprises of a very big red oval radiating a crimson color over the clouds located in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter. The spot is reportedly 1.3 times as wide as planet Earth.

The researchers said that the Great Red Spot's base would be warmer than its top. "Winds are combined with variations in temperature, and the warmth of the spot's base describes the fierce winds we see at the top of the atmosphere".

News | NASA's Juno Probes the Depths of Jupiter's Great Red Spot

While the storm has been monitored since 1830, it has possibly existed for more than 350 years, according to scientists. In the 19th century, the Great Red Spot was well over two Earths wide.

Jupiter's newly discovered radiation zone, represented by the glowing blue area around the planet's middle.

Launched on August 5, 2011, Juno has completed eight science passes over Jupiter to date.

"The closer you get to Jupiter, the weirder it gets", said Heidi Becker, Juno's radiation monitoring investigation lead at JPL, in a NASA release. The neutral atoms then become ions as their electrons are stripped away by interaction with the upper atmosphere of Jupiter. Its mission is to fly low over Jupiter's pervasive cloud cover (and occasionally a little bit into it), sending back information about the planet's makeup/structure/the component parts of the universe. These glimpses of Jupiter's atmosphere, which look " like cream swirling in coffee", are the product of an army of space enthusiasts that process the images captured by Juno into ones that can captivate the human eye.

The spacecraft also found signatures of a high-energy heavy ion population within the inner edges of Jupiter's relativistic electron radiation belt - a region dominated by electrons moving close to the speed of light. Becker and her colleagues are still studying the exact nature of these particles. Researchers at the AGU conference are discussing comparisons between Jupiter's and Earth's aurorae, measurements of the planet's gravitational field to understand its internal structure, and analysis of its magnetosphere.

Juno's next science permit is planned for December 16.

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