Tech & Science NASA's Juno probe discovers Texas-size cyclone on Jupiter

13:40  13 december  2019
13:40  13 december  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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Juno , a NASA spacecraft that has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, has discovered a huge new cyclone at the gas giant’ s south pole. It' s the sixth in what' s now a hexagonal array of cyclones surrounding one central storm at the pole. Scientists announced the discovery Thursday at a meeting

The world of Jupiter is coming into clearer focus for scientists, as new data from NASA ’ s Juno spacecraft reveals how the planet’s fluids churn Juno has been studying Jupiter ’s gravitational field, or how far the planet’s gravitational influence extends out into space . Now, the probe has revealed

a close up of a bright light: A group of cyclones on Jupiter have a new addition. NASA © Provided by CNET A group of cyclones on Jupiter have a new addition. NASA

A recent flyby of Jupiter by NASA's Juno spacecraft led to the discovery of a new cyclone, the space agency said Thursday. The flyby, which took place Nov. 3, soared just 2,175 miles above the planet to collect data. The discovery happened while the mission team was working to preserve the solar-powered spacecraft.

"We realized that the orbit was going to carry Juno into Jupiter's shadow, which could have grave consequences because we're solar powered," Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, said in a release. "No sunlight means no power, so there was real risk we might freeze to death. 

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Great video explaining the science of Jupiter and the exciting Juno mission. Features interviews with scientists and engineers working on the probe with

The first close-up observations from Nasa ’ s Juno spacecraft have captured towering clouds, swirling cyclones and dramatic flows of ammonia that The .1bn probe swung into orbit around Jupiter in July last year on a mission to peer through the thick clouds that shroud the planet and learn how the

"While the team was trying to figure out how to conserve energy and keep our core heated, the engineers came up with a completely new way out of the problem: Jump Jupiter's shadow. It was nothing less than a navigation stroke of genius. Lo and behold, first thing out of the gate on the other side, we make another fundamental discovery."

Upon Juno's first arrival to Jupiter in July 2016, it discovered nine giant cyclones in the north and six in the south that encircled the planet's poles. The data suggested five windstorms were circling around a central storm at the south pole, forming a pentagon around it. It didn't appear the storms were going to stop anytime soon to allow for other cyclones to join, but on Juno's recent flyby -- it's 22nd one -- a new cyclone came to life.  

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Nasa ' s Juno spacecraft flew through the narrow gap between Jupiter 's radiation belts and the planet during its first data Now the Nasa probe has captured new images of the gas giant's chaotic cyclones , which are up to 1 Pictured is a 1/5 scale model size of the solar-powered Juno spacecraft.

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"Data from Juno's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper [JIRAM] instrument indicates we went from a pentagon of cyclones surrounding one at the center to a hexagonal arrangement," Alessandro Mura, a Juno co-investigator at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, said in the release.

The new cyclone is about the size of Texas but smaller than the others. Future flyby data could show it getting bigger, Mura said.

Data from JIRAM suggest the new cyclone's wind speeds average 225 mph, which is similar to the velocity in the other cyclones. A camera on the spacecraft also captured visible-light images of the new cyclone. The datasets reveal information about atmospheric processes of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, NASA says, in addition to giant exoplanets that are being discovered. They also offer an understanding of atmospheric processes of cyclones on Earth. 

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Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter . It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA ' s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011 (UTC), as part of the New Frontiers program, and entered a polar

Nasa probe has made its first close pass to the gas giant after its five-year, 1.8 billion-mile journey from Earth. Analysis of the gas giant's magnetic field has revealed it is roughly This image shows Jupiter 's south pole, as seen by NASA ' s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers).

"These cyclones are new weather phenomena that have not been seen or predicted before," Cheng Li, a Juno scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, said in the release. "Nature is revealing new physics regarding fluid motions and how giant planet atmospheres work. We are beginning to grasp it through observations and computer simulations. Future Juno flybys will help us further refine our understanding by revealing how the cyclones evolve over time."

a close up of a bright light © NASA

Jupiter keeps flinging space rocks at Earth .
Jupiter has long been credited with protecting the inner solar system from pesky asteroids and other objects that could potentially cause a problem for us here on Earth. As Gizmodo reports, Kevin Grazier has done a lot of work in this field, studying the ways in which Jupiter interacts with rogue space rocks and how those objects end up flying toward our neck of the woods.

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