• Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

Why does Jupiter adjust its stripes? Scientists may well lastly know


May 25, 2023

When you image Jupiter, you possibly see a planet with orange and reddish bands and the well-known Excellent Red Spot staring at you like a giant eye. 

But did you know these well-known bands are ever-altering in size, colour and place? Just about every 4 to 5 years, Jupiter modifications its stripes, and ever due to the fact Galileo Galilei observed them in the 17th century, scientists have wondered why.

What we do know is that every single band, consisting of clouds of ammonia and water in a hydrogen and helium atmosphere, corresponds to powerful winds blowing east or west. Scientists have also linked the bands, which attain far more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere, to modifications in infrared variations inside the planet. But a group of researchers has just found an additional vital clue, and it all comes down to Jupiter’s magnetic field.

Connected: Jupiter, the solar system’s biggest planet (photographs)

Utilizing information from NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft, the group correlated the variations in the gas giant’s bands to modifications in its magnetic field. 

“It is doable to get wavelike motions in a planetary magnetic field, which are referred to as torsional oscillations. The thrilling issue is that, when we calculated the periods of these torsional oscillations, they corresponded to the periods that you see in the infrared radiation on Jupiter,” study co-author Chris Jones, a professor in the College of Maths at the University of Leeds in England, mentioned in a statement.

As it goes in the science planet, this discovery produces even far more mysteries. 

“There stay uncertainties and queries, especially how precisely the torsional oscillation produces the observed infrared variation, which most likely reflects the complicated dynamics and cloud/aerosol reactions. These require far more analysis,” study lead author Kumiko Hori, formerly of the University of Leeds and at present of Kobe University in Japan, mentioned in the exact same statement. 

“Nonetheless, I hope our paper could also open a window to probe the hidden deep interior of Jupiter, just like seismology does for the Earth and helioseismology does for the sun,” Hori mentioned.

The team’s analysis was published on May perhaps 18 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Comply with Stefanie Waldek on Twitter @StefanieWaldek. Comply with us @Spacedotcom, or on Facebook and Instagram.

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