Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

See Dramatic Cyclones Churning on Jupiter's Surface in These New NASA Photos

See Dramatic Cyclones Churning on Jupiter's Surface in These New NASA Photos

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.

NASA recently released never-before-seen footage of Jupiter, courtesy of the Juno spacecraft, that allows us to take a deeper look at what brews below the surface of Jupiter's atmosphere.

Juno co-investigator from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, Yohai Kaspi, explained the mission's breakthrough to understanding the asymmetry of the planet.

The surface of Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun and the largest in the solar system, consists of alternating bright and dark bands of gas and winds flowing in opposite directions at massive speed.

Juno wanders around Jupiter from 2016 with a 53-day elliptical trajectory.

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Previously there have been extensive studies of the helium-and-hydrogen planet's surface, but now gravity measurements collected by Juno indicate that this turbulent outer layer extends to a depth of 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers).

As Juno edges closer, Jupiter's gravity pulls on the spacecraft and shifts the wavelength of its radio signals by a small amount.

Jonathan Fortney of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the research, called the findings "extremely robust" and said they show "high-precision measurements of a planet's gravitational field can be used to answer questions of deep planetary dynamics".

Using data gathered from Juno's sophisticated suite of instruments, researchers have found that Jupiter's storms aren't confined to the uppermost layers of the Jovian atmosphere.

A view of Jupiter's southern hemisphere that captures one of the white ovals in the "String of Pearls", one of eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet.

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"On a gas planet, such an asymmetry can only come from flows deep within the planet; and on Jupiter, the visible eastward and westward jet streams are likewise asymmetric north and south".

Based on the asymmetry in the gravitational fields between north to south, the researchers determined that the wind belts - these stripes observed by Galileo - extend 3,000 km deep.

Scientists hope the ongoing mission's findings, which have been published in four papers in Nature, will improve understanding of Jupiter's interior structure, core mass and, eventually, its origin.

It has not yet been determined if Jupiter has a solid core or not, but it has been suggested in a separate study - led by Professor Tristan Guillot of the Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur - that between the core (if there is one) and the circling winds, that the gas rotates more or less as a single body, nearly as if it were a solid. "That is basically a mass equal to three Earths moving at speeds of tens of meters per second".

Scientists have discovered a lot of new pictures thanks to Juno.

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The subject of Jupiter's core is not yet closed, and the researchers aim analyze further measurements to see whether Jupiter has a solid core, and if so, to determine its mass.

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