Data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft presents a more profound knowledge of Jupiter has unbelievable and vehement atmosphere, including its Great Red Spot, discovering that this enormous swirling storm increases much further down than anticipated.
Explorers announced on Thursday the Great Red Spot plunges within roughly 200 to 300 miles (350 to 500 km) beneath the cloud tops on Jupiter, based on microwave and gravity measurements acquired by Juno.
The data gives scientists analyzing the solar system’s most enormous planet – so huge that 1,000 Earths could fit inside it – a three-dimensional account of Jupiter’s atmosphere.
The planet, identified as a gas giant, comprises hydrogen and helium, with hints of other gases. Stripes and some storms like the Great Red Spot dominate the bright appearance of Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun with a diameter of approximately 88,850 miles (143,000 km).
The Great Red Spot is a tornado about 10,000 miles (16,000 km) broad churning in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, swelling crimson-colored clouds that spin counterclockwise at tremendous speeds. It is one of the miracles of the solar system and has been in existence for centuries. However, scientists until now possess had little understanding of what lies beneath its surface.
From a logical point of view, it’s puzzling how the storm can last so long-drawn and be so huge. Juno has been encircling Jupiter since 2016, obtaining information about its atmosphere, interior structure, internal magnetic field, and the region around it created by its inner magnetism. Juno is also expected to fly by Jupiter’s large moons Europa and Io, and examine the little rings.
The Great Red Spot has developed in shape over time, and there are signs that it may be contracting in size.
An instrument called a microwave radiometer enabled scientists to peer beneath Jupiter’s cloud tops and investigate the structure of its numerous vortex storms, including the Great Red Spot, showing that they exist very deep in Jupiter’s atmosphere – much more profound than expected.
Rather than being limited to the uppermost parts of Jupiter’s atmosphere, the Great Red Spot’s roots jump to regions beyond where water compresses and clouds form – and underneath where any sunlight reaches.
Juno data previously showed that jet streams in Jupiter’s atmosphere reach down even further, to depths of about 2,000 miles (3,200 km).
Bolton said that assumptions based on how Earth’s atmosphere behaves and models produced over the past few decades had given the impression that the Great Red Spot was a relatively shallow storm.
“Jupiter works in this mysterious way that we’re revealing for the first time – because this is the first mission that’s been able to look inside the planet,” Bolton added. “And we’re seeing surprises.”
Jupiter and Earth are vastly different worlds, and not just in terms of size. Earth is a rocky place. Jupiter lacks a solid surface though it may have a solid inner core.