This is One of the Best-Ever Images Of Jupiter to Date

This is One of the Best-Ever Images Of Jupiter to Date
If Jupiter isn’t one thing, it’s definitely not calm. Jupiter may be described as the Wild West of our solar system. Massive storms and violent cloud systems encircle the Gas Giant’s surface, extending to depths much greater than the atmospheric barrier between our planet and space in some places.

 This is One of the Best-Ever Images Of Jupiter to Date

Jupiter’s storms and weather, in general, are unlike anything we’ve ever seen on Earth, which is why scientists have struggled to fully comprehend the gas giant’s weather mechanisms.

Observing Jupiter and its tremendous storms is the best method to learn more about it, and the Hubble Telescope and Gemini Observatory are assisting us in this endeavour. A new set of observations has provided astronomers with another piece of the puzzle in their quest to comprehend Jupiter: we’ve recently gotten new near-infrared and thermal photos that disclose some of Jupiter’s secrets.


This is One of the Best-Ever Images Of Jupiter to Date

There are two sections to the observations. First, heat radiation blazing through Jupiter’s huge, thick clouds was detected by Gemini measurements in the near-infrared (NIRI). Astronomers may merge two images into one using information from Hubble’s optical photos, generating an overview of the gas giant’s internal and outward processes.


Michael Wong of UC Berkeley, who led the research team, said:




The combined images have revealed unprecedented data. Jupiter’s cloud regions that seem dark in optical observations (Hubble) are the ones that glow most brightly in infrared (Gemini), somewhat that tells us that those specific regions have little to no clouds, compared to much lighter bands.


The images are part of a multi-year joint observation program with the Hubble Space telescope and Juno observations.


“It’s kind of like a jack-o-lantern,” revealed astronomer Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley. “You see bright infrared light coming from cloud-free areas, but where there are clouds, it’s really dark in the infrared.”


As explained by Science Alert, this included a line curving around the edge of the famous Great Red Spot, a gigantic storm system that has remained active for decades and is larger than the entire planet. Although similar features were observed in storms before, scientists were unsure what was the cause behind them.


Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained that “Visible-light observation couldn’t distinguish between darker cloud material, and thinner cloud cover over Jupiter’s warm interior, so their nature remained a mystery.”


But the combination of observations managed to clear up that question. By comparing two sets of images, astronomers observed a glowing infrared arc that nearly mated to an optical shadow, revealing that the coloration marked a crack within the storm’s powerful clouds.


But even greater details of Jupiter’s clouds were revealed when scientists combined the data obtained by Hubble and Gemini with data from NASA’s Jupiter orbiter Juno. The spacecraft has been making flybys of the gas giant’s poles and, along the way, detecting radio signals from potent lightning strikes on Jupiter.


The first flyby’s revealed as many as 377 lightning strikes around the polar regions of Jupiter. This is unlike what happens on Earth, where lighting strikes and storms are more common around the equator.


This is explained by how the sun interacts with the planets. On both Jupiter and Earth, the equator is heated by the  Sun.


This created convection currents that drive tropic thunderstorms on our planet, while on Jupiter, the heat generated by the sun is much fainter, which stabilizes the upper atmosphere. However, scientists believe that this heat doesn’t get far from the equator, which means it doesn’t reach Jupiter’s poles, why makes them more tempestuous.

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