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"Jupiter's 350-Year Puzzle" – Will the James Webb Space Telescope Solve It?



  Jupiter's Great Red Spot

Jupiter's colossal red patch, which stretches over a width of 16,000 kilometers and rages for 350 years, is the all-time champion of the solar system. According to NASA, it could swallow the earth as a whole and still have room for Mars. Launched March 30, 2021

, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will use its unprecedented infrared capabilities to investigate the puzzling storm and build on data returned from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.

Infrared sensitivity is a wonderful complement to Hubble's study of the visible wavelength of the Great Red Spot, "said astronomer Heidi Hammel, executive vice president of the Association for Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA). "Hubble images have produced remarkable changes in the size of the Great Red Spot over the more than ten years of mission life."

"Unsolved Mystery" – NASA's James Webb Space Telescope to Investigate the Great Red Spot of Jupiter [19659005]]

Jupiter's Legendary Storm is on the list of targets of the Webb Telescope that have been selected by observers with guaranteed time. Scientists who co-developed the incredibly complex telescope and were the first to observe the universe. One of the telescope's scientific goals is to study planets, including the secrets that the planets hold in our own solar system from Mars and beyond.

Leigh Fletcher, Research Fellow of the Royal Society at Oxford University, is the chief scientist on Webb's observations on the Jupiter Storm – this team plans to create multispectral maps of the Great Red Spot and its thermal mass using Webb's Mid-infrared Instrument (MIRI) to analyze chemical and cloud structures.

Scientists will be able to do this Watching infrared wavelengths that could provide clues about the spot's iconic color. This is often attributed to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, which interacts with nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus-containing chemicals, which are released by strong atmospheric currents within the storm from the deeper atmosphere of Jupiter. [19659009] "Alien Matter" – Makes 80% of Jupiter & Saturn

Fletcher explained that the use of MIRI for observation in the range of 5 to 7 microns for the Great Red Spot could be particularly revealing, as no other mission could observe in this part of Jupiter The electromagnetic spectrum and observations at such wavelengths are not possible from Earth. These wavelengths of light could allow scientists to see unique chemical by-products of the storm that would give insight into its composition.

"Wake-up call?"

"We will look for signatures for chemical compounds that are only valid for [Great Red Spot] and that could be responsible for the red chromophores," said Fletcher. Chromophores are the parts of molecules responsible for their color. Fletcher added, "If we do not see any unexpected chemical reactions or aerosol signatures, the mystery of that red color may remain unresolved."

Webb's observations could also help determine if the Great Red Spot generates heat and gives it up to Jupiter's upper Atmosphere, a phenomenon that could explain the high temperatures in this region. Recent NASA-funded research has shown that colliding gravitational and sound waves caused by the storm can produce the observed heat, and Fletcher said Webb may collect data to support it.

"All waves generated by violent convection Activity within the storm must pass through the stratosphere before reaching the ionosphere and thermosphere," he explained. "So if they really exist and they are responsible for warming the upper layers of Jupiter, we hope to see evidence of their passage through our data."

Generations of astronomers have studied the Great Red Spot, but the reason for the longevity of the storm remains largely a mystery, and Fletcher explained that the key to understanding the formation of storms on Jupiter is to witness their entire life cycle – grow , shrink and eventually die. We have not seen the shape of the Great Red Spot, and it may not die so quickly (though it has shrunk, as illustrated by images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories). Therefore, scientists must trust to observe "smaller and fresher" storms. "These special observations will uncover the vertical structure of the storm, which will be an important constraint for numerical simulations of Jovian," Fletcher said. "Meteorology," he explained. "If these simulations can explain what Webb observes in the infrared, we are one step closer to understanding how long these gigantic whirlpools are living."

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