Slideshow: Cyclones churn over Jupiter's poles

Juno is finding weird things in Jupiter's vast cyclone clusters

Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System and NASA's Juno probe orbiting the gas giant has delivered some stunning images time and time again.

Jupiter is a type of planet called a gas giant, as opposed to rocky planets like Earth and Mars, and its composition is 99 percent hydrogen and helium.

According to NASA, the recent revelations will improve the understanding of Jupiter's interior structure, core mass and eventually, the origin of Jupiter.

NASA's Juno mission has come up with significant information about the planet. Next, two additional teams (one led by Yohai Kaspi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, the other by Tristan Guillot of the Côte d'Azur Observatory in France) delved deeper into complementary subsets of the data.

Gas giant Jupiter is the largest known planet in our solar system.

The research group with the collaboration of Daniele Durante and Paolo Racioppa and other researchers from Italian and foreign universities and scientific institutions, managed to establish the depth of the winds, based on the measurements of the planet's gravity carried out by the probe.

This Nasa image released March 2, 2018 captures the swirling cloud formations around the south pole of Jupiter, looking up toward the equatorial region.

"They are extraordinarily stable arrangements of such chaotic elements", says Morgan O'Neill, a University of Chicago postdoctoral scholar and a coauthor on paper "Clusters of cyclones encircling Jupiter's poles".

"We didn't know whether a gaseous planet like Jupiter rotates with zones and belts all the way to the centre, or whether on the contrary the atmospheric patterns are skin-deep".

"Juno's unique orbit and evolutionary high-precision radio science and infrared technologies enabled these paradigm-shifting discoveries", said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, US. The result confirms that the windbands are by no means just a superficial phenomenon: "The jet streams reach from the top of the cloud cover to a depth of around 3,000 kilometers", the researchers say.

The results have been analyzed in a paper published in Nature on Wednesday. There has been disagreement over whether the planet's bands are a weather system, comparable to the Earth's jet streams, or whether they are an aspect of a deeper-seated convection system that transports energy out of the interior. "Now, we have been able to observe the polar weather up-close every two months", Dr. Adriani said. Kaspi, are much stronger than the fiercest winds on Earth, and they have lasted for at least hundreds of years. The northern cyclones each range from between 4,000 and 4,600 km across in size.

Its north pole is dominated by a central cyclone surrounded by eight circumpolar cyclones with diameters ranging from 4,000 to 4,600 kilometres across.

Juno launched in 2011 with the ambitious mission of finally seeing beneath the dense clouds covering Jupiter.

"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".

While these storms might look like the same cyclone with branched arms, they are actually separate storms that are densely packed.

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