giant cyclones on Jupiter
giant cyclones on Jupiter

Cyclones on Jupiter’s South Pole. Juno Spacecraft picked hexagon of storm hidden on the top layer of Jupiter’s clouds.

The Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011 and entered orbit around Jupiter in 2016. Its primary mission is to understand how Jupiter formed and evolved over time. It’s the first mission that can peer below the top layer of Jupiter’s clouds. it has discovered Cyclones on Jupiter’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 of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. 

jupiter south pole
Jupiter’s south pole in December 2017. (NASA/JPL)

Juno Probe discovered a giant new storm swirling near Jupiter’s south pole last month, a few weeks after pulling off a dramatic death-dodging maneuver.

An onboard camera on Juno that can see the light that Jupiter emits from within its atmosphere. Kind of camera what scientists are using that can track motions of gases below the planet surface.

The southern tempests are arrayed in a strikingly regular fashion. Previously, five of them had formed a pentagon around a central storm, which is as wide as the continental United States. With the new addition, that girdling structure is now a hexagon. 

“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.

From Intruder to Family

The arrangement of multiple storms at the gas giant’s pole was a surprise to planetary scientists. Based on simulations, they expected that a new storm popping up might trigger an episode of cannibalism, in which multiple storms swallow one another to create one large vortex. 

But on the other hand, models show these storms may not dissipate anytime soon.

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“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.

In conclusion, to sum up, “Future Juno flybys will help us further refine our understanding by revealing how cyclones evolve over time.”