Geometric clusters of cyclones churn over Jupiter’s poles

Posted: March 8, 2018 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, atmosphere, Fibonacci, research, solar system dynamics
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Cyclones in Jupiter’s atmosphere [image credit: NASA]

Octagon and pentagon (8:5) shapes at the poles, with groups of cyclones in a 9:6 (= 3:2) polar ratio. Fascinating.

Jupiter’s poles are blanketed by geometric clusters of cyclones and its atmosphere is deeper than scientists suspected, says

These are just some of the discoveries reported by four international research teams Wednesday, based on observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft circling Jupiter.

One group uncovered a constellation of nine cyclones over Jupiter’s north pole and six over the south pole. The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 220 mph (350 kph).

The massive storms haven’t changed position much—or merged—since observations began.

Team leader Alberto Adriani of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome was surprised to find such complex structures. Scientists thought they’d find something similar to the six-sided cloud system spinning over Saturn’s north pole.

“We were wrong about it,” he said via email.

Instead, they found an octagon-shaped grouping over the north pole, with eight cyclones surrounding one in the middle, and a pentagon-shaped batch over the south pole. Each cyclone measures several thousand miles (kilometers) across.

The fifth planet from our sun, gas giant Jupiter is by far the largest planet in our solar system. Launched in 2011, Juno has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016 and peering beneath the thick ammonia clouds. It’s only the second spacecraft to circle the planet; Galileo did it from 1995 to 2003.

Another of the studies in this week’s journal Nature finds that Jupiter’s crisscrossing east-west jet streams actually penetrate thousands of miles (kilometers) beneath the visible cloud tops. Refined measurements of Jupiter’s uneven gravity field enabled the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Yohai Kaspi in Rehovot, Israel, and his colleagues to calculate the depth of the jet streams at about 3,000 kilometers, or 1,865 miles.

“The result is a surprise because this indicates that the atmosphere of Jupiter is massive and extends much deeper than we previously expected,” Kaspi said in an email.

By better understanding these strong jet streams and the gravity field, Kaspi said scientists can better decipher the core of Jupiter. A similar situation may be occurring at other big gas planets like Saturn, where the atmosphere could be even deeper than Jupiter’s, he said.

Continued here.
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Nature article: A deeper look at Jupiter | 07 March 2018

  1. oldbrew says:

    Here we report that visible and infrared images obtained from above each pole by the Juno spacecraft during its first five orbits reveal persistent polygonal patterns of large cyclones. In the north, eight circumpolar cyclones are observed about a single polar cyclone; in the south, one polar cyclone is encircled by five circumpolar cyclones.
    . . .
    The manner in which the cyclones persist without merging and the process by which they evolve to their current configuration are unknown.

  2. JB says:

    “The manner in which the cyclones persist without merging and the process by which they evolve to their current configuration are unknown.”–Nature

    They should pay more attention to what is being learned about the sun. As long as they consider only the Coriolis β-effect on the cyclones it will remain unknown.

  3. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Could these be magnetically induced and how long have they persisted for?

  4. oldbrew says:

    how long have they persisted for?

    Hard to say as there’s no polar view of Jupiter from Earth.

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Mater in motion creates electric currents, electric currents create magnetic fields, magnetic fields cause motion of Mater
    Anything in motion tends to stay in motion until acted on by an opposing force.

    Inertia / Mass …………..Energy, charge in motion yields Electro Motive Fields of Force…pg

  6. oldbrew says:

    From BBC News:
    The origins of these cyclones and how they persist without merging, or letting another storm muscle in, remain unknown, however.

    Alberto Adriani, the lead author on the paper from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Italy, said: “Each one of the northern cyclones is almost as wide as the distance between Naples, Italy, and New York City – and the southern ones are even larger than that. They have very violent winds, reaching, in some cases, speeds as great as 220mph (350km/h).

    “Finally, and perhaps most remarkably, they are very close together and enduring. There is nothing else like it that we know of in the Solar System.”
    – – –
    Jupiter is a huge planet, but its magnetosphere is mind-blowingly massive. It extends out to nearly 5 million kilometers (3 million miles) wide on average, 150 times wider than Jupiter itself and almost 15 times wider than the Sun, making it one of the largest structures in the Solar System.

    “If you were to look up into the night sky and if we could see the outline of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, it would be about the size of the Moon in our sky,” said Jack Connerney, deputy principal investigator and head of the Juno mission magnetometer team.