NASA’s latest images captured by its Juno orbiter have unveiled a ‘chaotic, stormy’ surface on Jupiter, leading researchers to a better understanding regarding its origin and development.
During a close trajectory by Jupiter, the space agency’s Juno spacecraft observed a view of the planet’s northern hemisphere, known by scientists as a folded filamentary area, which NASA depicted it as ‘chaotic,’ and ‘stormy.’
Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface as the Earth has. Information gathered by the orbiter suggests that some of the massive planet’s winds go deeper and last longer than similar atmospheric events on Earth.
Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill has created and improved the image with colors, using data from the JunoCam instrument on board of the spacecraft. The original photo was captured back on December 26th, 2019, when Juno performed its 24th close flyby of the giant planet. Back then, the NASA orbiter was approximately 23,500 kilometers (about 15,000 miles) from the peaks of the planet’s clouds.
Juno’s aim is to help NASA’s understanding of the Solar System‘s origins by unveiling the genesis, as well as the evolution of Jupiter.
Observing Jupiter at Close Distance
Below its thick cloud layers, Jupiter hides secrets of basic processes and conditions that ruled our Solar System while it formed. As a primary instance of a giant planet, Jupiter can also offer vital knowledge for comprehending the planetary systems that were identified around the stars.
NASA said: “Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.”
More precisely, the spacecraft will discover the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps establish which planet formation hypothesis is correct, or if new theories are required. It will also analyze the planet’s atmosphere to calculate its composition, temperature, cloud behavior, and more.
The Juno orbiter will also map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, which will unveil the planet’s distant structure. It will analyze and study the planet’s magnetosphere as well, which is close to the poles, and especially the auroras. These observations should offer researchers new insights about how Jupiter’s massive magnetic force field impacts its atmosphere.