NASA Probe Captures Video of Jupiter and Finds Something ‘Unlike Anything Previously Imagined’

NASA’s Juno probe has captured an incredible infrared video of the huge cyclones that surround Jupiter’s poles, in a close-up dive over the planet. The 3D infrared movie shows the cyclones and anticyclones at the planet’s poles. NASA investigators also showed off the first detailed view of the dynamo powering Jupiter’s magnetic field – which they described as ‘unlike anything previously imagined’.

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The video shows how the North Pole is dominated by a huge cyclone – surrounded by eight cyclones more than 2,500 miles across. The scientists used data collected by the spacecraft’s Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument and generated the 3-D fly-around of the Jovian world’s North Pole. Alberto Adriani, Juno co-investigator from the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, Rome:
“Before Juno, we could only guess what Jupiter’s poles would look like. Now, with Juno flying over the poles at a close distance it permits the collection of infrared imagery on Jupiter’s polar weather patterns and its massive cyclones in unprecedented spatial resolution.”

The huge cyclones at the poles are believed to be lasting atmospheric features, and are ‘unlike anything encountered in our solar system’, scientists said earlier this year.

The mission’s deputy-principal investigator, Jack Connerney of the Space Research Corporation, Annapolis, Maryland, presented the first detailed view of the dynamo, or engine, powering the magnetic field of Jupiter. Connerney and colleagues produced the new magnetic field model from measurements made during eight orbits of Jupiter. From those, they derived maps of the magnetic field at the surface and in the region below the surface where the dynamo is thought to originate.

These maps provide an extraordinary advancement in current knowledge and will guide the science team in planning the spacecraft’s remaining observations.

“We’re finding that Jupiter’s magnetic field is unlike anything previously imagined,’said Connerney. “Juno’s investigations of the magnetic environment at Jupiter represent the beginning of a new era in the studies of planetary dynamos.”