Ever since Galileo Galilei first observed Jupiter closely in 1610 using a telescope of his own design, scientists and astronomers have been immensely fascinated by the Jovian planet. And the fascination continues to this day.
The June spacecraft has been sending stunning images and other surprising data from Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. And some of its finding have turned the scientific community’s previous opinions about Jupiter on its ear.
The Juno spacecraft has found, for example, that Jupiter’s interior composition and structure seems to be quite different, and its winds even more active, than originally thought.
Now, giant cyclones at the planet’s poles have been seen in greater detail than ever before. They are not only stunning, but unique from atmospheric storms of any other planet in our solar system, even other gas and ice giants.
Also, other new data from Juno builds on previous findings, including showing that the planet’s strong winds penetrate deep into the atmosphere and last longer than any similar ones on our planet.
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. Juno’s unique orbit and evolutionary high-precision radio science and infrared technologies enabled these paradigm-shifting discoveries.
Juno is only about one-third the way through its primary mission, and already we are seeing the beginnings of a new Jupiter.
Jupiter’s atmospheric marvels are not limited to its equatorial regions, however; Juno has provided unprecedented views of the planet’s poles, where massive cyclones churn with unearthly ferocity. Infrared images created from data taken by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument look almost surreal, like cosmic artwork.
The clusters of cyclones around the poles look kind of like a space pizza – a dazzling, yet unearthly sight. Alberto Adriani, Juno co-investigator from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome, and lead author of one of the new papers, said:
Prior to Juno we did not know what the weather was like near Jupiter’s poles. Now, we have been able to observe the polar weather up-close every two months.
Each one of the northern cyclones is almost as wide as the distance between Naples, Italy, and New York City – and the southern ones are even larger than that. They have very violent winds, reaching, in some cases, speeds as great as 220 mph (350 kph). Finally, and perhaps most remarkably, they are very close together and enduring.
There is nothing else like it that we know of in the solar system.
For more, see… http://disq.us/p/1r4iywb
Jupiter’s Powerful Auroras ‘Defy Earthly Laws of Physics’
The planet’s polar auroras seem to behave different from would be expected, based on what is known about auroras on Earth.
“Almost nothing is as we anticipated,” Juno’s principal investigator Scott Bolton had previously told WIRED. “But it’s exciting that Jupiter is so different than we assumed.”
“The data’s telling us our ideas are all wrong,” says Randy Gladstone, lead investigator of Juno’s ultraviolet spectrograph. “But that’s fun.”
Jupiter is a complex planet, and thanks to Juno, we now know it is even more complex than first thought. As reported earlier in AmericaSpace, it is now a “whole new world.” The planet’s auroras are one good example. Scientists had expected them to be about 10 – 30 times stronger than those on Earth, but according to Juno, they are a hundred times more powerful. That’s a fascinating problem, since according to what we know about them on Earth, they shouldn’t be; they are essentially “defying Earthly laws of physics.”
“Basically, the aurora is a factor of 10 brighter than it should be based on Earth-like physics,” Mauk said.
Juno also recently took the closest-ever images of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a gigantic long-lived storm in the atmosphere.
“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the Solar System’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”
For more, see… https://goo.gl/CVYqNZ
Jupiter – The Fascinating Planet
Ever since Galileo Galilei first observed Jupiter closely in 1610 using a telescope of his own design, scientists and astronomers have been immensely fascinated by the Jovian planet. Not only is it the Solar System’s largest planet, but there are still things about this world – despite centuries of research and numerous exploration missions – that continue to mystify even our greatest minds.
One of the main reasons for this is because Jupiter is so starkly different from what we Earth-dwellers consider to be normal. Between its incredible size, mass, composition, the mysteries of its magnetic and gravitational fields, and its impressive system of moons, its existence has shown us just how diverse planets can truly be.
Size, Mass and Density:
Earth’s has a mean radius of 6,371 km (3,958.8 mi), and a mass of 5.97 × 1024 kg. Jupiter has a mean radius of 69,911 ± 6 km (43441 mi) and a mass of 1.8986×1027 kg. In short, Jupiter is almost 11 times the size of Earth, and about 318 times as massive. However, Earth’s density is significantly higher, since it is a terrestrial planet – 5.514 g/cm3 compared to 1.326 g/cm³.
Because of this, Jupiter’s “surface” gravity is significantly higher than Earth normal – i.e. 9.8 m/s² or 1 g. While, as a gas giant, Jupiter has no surface per se, astronomers believe that within Jupiter’s atmosphere where the atmospheric pressure is equal to 1 bar (which is equal to Earth’s at sea level), Jupiter experiences a gravitational force of 24.79 m/s2 (which is the equivalent of 2.528 g).
ALSO SEE THIS JAN 28, 2018 STORY…
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