The birth and development of Jupiter has long been discussed. Some believe that the gas giant, which weighs up to 300 Earths, has used leftover elements left over from a Newborn sun and formed as its entire gaseous close relative, while others postulated that it originated and later drew with a core of rock and water ice Gases from the solar fog form the massive atmosphere that we see today – thousands of miles deep.
The chemical data from various missions and the observed attraction of Jupiter have strengthened support for the second case. However, to confirm the existence of such a nucleus and understand the birth of the Solar System's largest planet, scientists had to find traces of water, exactly what a group of NASA researchers has just achieved.
"The moons of this orbit Jupiter are mostly water-ice, so the whole neighborhood has a lot of water," said Gordon L. Bjoraker, a NASA astrophysicist and one of the authors of the work, in a statement. "Why should the planet ̵
To solve this puzzle, Bjoraker and colleagues studied Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a stubborn high-pressure region in the atmosphere that causes a storm south of the planet's equator. They analyzed data related to thermal radiation emanating from the depths of the storm, collected by the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, and used this information to detect the prevailing gases at different altitudes.
Among the identified gases, they focused on the strength of methane, which should be abundant in all regions of Jupiter
"If you see that the strength of the methane lines varies from the inside to the outside of the Great Red Spot This is not because there is more methane here than there, "Bjoraker added," because there are thicker, deeper clouds blocking the radiation in the Great Red Spot. "
This revealed three layers of cloud at the Great Red Spot as well as those there prevailing conditions, as the team had expected. Most importantly, the deepest cloud layer had a pressure of about five bar, exactly where the temperature is around the freezing point for water. This indicates the presence of clouds of water deep in the planet's atmosphere.
Combining the water pressure found in the study and the strength of carbon monoxide, the team concluded that Jupiter carries two to nine times more oxygen than the Sun was probably high in water, at least in the deepest regions ,
"Jupiter's abundance of water will tell us a lot about how the huge planet formed, but only if we can figure out how much water there is in the whole planet," added Steven M. Levin, a project scientist for the June Spacecraft of NASA, added.
Juno's observations confirmed the latest findings and prove that the model can use the same technique to map water abundance not only to other parts of Jupiter, but also to other gas giants including Saturn and Uranus.
The study titled "The Gas Composition and Deep Cloud Structure of Jupiter's Large Red Spot" was published in the Astronomical Journal.