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Home / Science / Stunning new images reveal what's going on in Jupiter's turbulent storms

Stunning new images reveal what's going on in Jupiter's turbulent storms



No matter how many images we see of our solar system, we never tire of looking out into space, and the latest images of Jupiter are enough to make even the most experienced cosmic watchers drop their jaws.

The image above shows a new radio wave image taken with the Atacama telescope group ALMA (Large Millimeter / Submillimetre Array), which gives a rare insight into the processes under the swirling, colorful ammonia clouds. & # 39; It becomes better known when Jupiter is photographed.

With the help of radio waves we can look into the atmosphere after one of Jupiter's storms about 50 kilometers below the ammonia.

Not only are the images breathtaking, but the data also provides valuable insights into the evolution of Jupiter's weather systems ̵

1; suggesting that the storms disrupt the colorful "bands" on the top layer of the "surface" of the gas giant ,

"With ALMA, we were able to create a three-dimensional map of the distribution of ammonia gas under the clouds," says Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley.

"And for the first time we were able to investigate the atmosphere under the ammonia cloud layers after an energetic eruption on Jupiter."

These energetic outbursts are similar to thunderstorms on Earth and often lightning-like they appear as small, bright clouds on the Earth visible cloud layer of Jupiter, but here the researchers could look deeper.

 jup 3 Two bright white feathers (center) on Jupiter with a larger downstream disturbance to the right of them. (Imke de Pater, Chris Moeckel, Leigh Fletcher, Michael Wong)

The radio wave images obtained by ALMA and other telescopes show high levels of ammonia gas, and the observations are consistent with a recent hypothesis on how the white feathers form – that they are triggered by moist convection currents at the base of water clouds deeper in Jupiter's atmosphere.

It appears that these eruptions are enough to push ammonia gas far beyond the main cloud cover into the tropopause – the coldest part of the atmosphere – where they spread like the lightning- and thunder-laden cumulonimbus clouds here on Earth and visible white feathers upon freezing cause.

 jup 2 Comparison of ALMA and Hubble images. (ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO), I. de Pater et al., NRAO / AUI NSF, S. Dagnello, NASA / Hubble) Phil Miles noticed a disturbing cloud on Jupiter's visible cloud belt.

They compared ALMA radio wave images with photos taken with the Hubble telescope and mid-infrared images from the same time.

It is a great example of amateur astronomy and scientists from several observatories and agencies working together to bring something very special together – another beautiful (and very useful) view of the largest planet in our solar system.

"If these feathers are strong and continue to have convective events, they can interfere with one of these bands over time, although it can take several months," says de Pater.

"With these observations, we see one spring underway and the aftermath of the other."

The study was accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal and can be found on the pre-print server arXiv.org to be read.


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