"The fact that Jupiter has such a massive region rotating in separate east-west bands is definitely a surprise".
One group uncovered a constellation of nine cyclones over Jupiter's north pole and six over the south pole.
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.
Before Juno reached its target in 2016, it was not known whether the colourful bands wrapped around Jupiter were just a pretty surface phenomenon, or whether they were enormous deep layers penetrating down into the abyss below. The instrument takes images of light that emerge from deep within the planet.
Adriani explained that the width of each of the northern cyclones is the distance between New York City and Naples, and the Southern cyclones are even more massive in comparison. They have very violent winds, reaching, in some cases, speeds as great as 220 miles per hour (350 kph).
The co-investigator also added that the remarkable feature about the cyclones is that they are enduring and very close together. "There is nothing else like it that we know of in the solar system".
These discoveries and others are detailed in a series of papers published this month in the journal Nature. Nearly all the polar cyclones, at both poles, are so densely packed that their spiral arms come in contact with adjacent cyclones. But, they remain distinct in spite of being so tightly spaced. The agency provided that statement, along with some stunning new imagery of the planet, as part of a treasure trove of new findings gathered by the Juno spacecraft.
The findings, overall, are set to improve the understanding of the planet's interior structure, core mass, and ultimately, its origin.
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 km. The Jovian weather layer contains about one per cent of the Jupiter's mass, which is about three times the Earth's mass, and deepens to a depth of 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers). The initial planning is that the vessel will complete its mission this July, but NASA can extend it. Juno is the second vessel that traveled around Jupiter since Galileo preceded 1995-2003. Thus, the magnitude of the asymmetry in gravity determines the depth of the jet streams.
The planet's asymmetry according to NASA "can only come from flows deep within the planet" in this the planets weather and temperature have great influence as well on characteristic zones and belts. 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.
- said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio.
"Prior to Juno we did not know what the weather was like near Jupiter's poles", says Alberto Adriani, co-investigator of Juno.
The gravity signature of the jet streams is bound with the gravity signal of Jupiter core. Another result shows that the planet rotates almost as a rigid body, with the weather layer beneath it.