A Whole New Jupiter: NASA's $1.1 Billion Spacecraft Beams Back New Mysterious Views of Biggest Planet in Our Solar System

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NASA’s Juno mission, which was started in 2011 and initiated its first orbit last year, allows researchers to view Jupiter in new ways thanks to the probe's extremely elliptical orbit, which travels over the planet's poles and plunges within 5,000km (3,100 miles) of its cloud tops.

Now the NASA probe has taken new images of the gas giant's hectic cyclones, which are up to 1,400km (870 miles) across, approximately the length of Japan.
A statement by NASA described the planet as 'a complex, gigantic, turbulent world' that is far not the same as researchers previously thought.
This image shows Jupiter's South Pole [Jupiter from bottom], as seen by NASA's Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers).



Two research papers in the journal Science and 44 research papers in Geophysical Research Letters explain a trove of findings made since Juno started orbiting Jupiter last year.

Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said:

“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves. There is so much going on here that we didn't expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter. Juno's findings are really going to force us to rethink not only how Jupiter works, but how do we explore Saturn, Uranus and Neptune,”
This sequence of enhanced-color images shows how quickly the viewing geometry changes for NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it swoops by Jupiter. 

With dozens of cyclones hundreds of miles across - along with unidentifiable weather systems extending thousands of miles - the poles look nothing like Jupiter's equatorial section, directly identifiable by its strips and Great Red Spot, a raging hurricane-like storm.

Bolton said: “That's the Jupiter we've all known and grown to love. And when you look from the pole, it looks totally different ... I don't think anybody would have guessed this is Jupiter”

He calls these first main discoveries 'Earth-shattering. Or should I say, Jupiter-shattering.

A look at Jupiter's poles has shown they are covered with dozens of densely clustered storms, possibly dropping hail or snow.

'Images of Jupiter's previously-unseen poles show a chaotic scene of bright oval features,' said one of the studies in the journal Science.

These ovals, it turns out, are huge swirling storms, some of which measure up to 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) across.

Researchers found 'signs of ammonia welling up from the deep atmosphere and forming giant weather systems.'

Now, more study is needed to better understand the nature of Jupiter's storms, and why the planet acts this way.

Meanwhile enjoy these breathtaking view of the largest and one of the most mysterious planet of our solar system.



 
A cylindrical map of the infrared emission from Jupiter as detected by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), an instrument on the Juno spacecraft

The complexity and richness of Jupiter's 'southern lights' are on display in this image of false-color maps from Nasa's Juno spacecraft

The huge aurora on Jupiter (pictured) are thought to be caused by solar particles and volcanic debris in the space around the giant planet being accelerated towards the poles by its powerful magnetic field

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