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Cyclones on Jupiter's north pole reveal more about the planet's makeup

Cyclones on Jupiter's north pole reveal more about the planet's makeup

But NASA's attractive new images of Jupiter come from an optical camera called JunoCam.

With "Juno" the inhabitants of the Earth have heard and seen auroras on Jupiter, had looked at the storm and anticyclone, and now NASA has demonstrated another unexplored part of another planet - the North pole.

"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", declared Alberto Adriani, a Juno co-investigator.

The spacecraft has used these high-speed flybys, called perijoves, to document the gas giant like never before since August 2016.

Juno mission scientists unveiled the new animation Wednesday (April 11) at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna.

NASA showed a video of a flight over the North pole of the planet Jupiter in the infrared color spectrum. In this picture the highest "brightness temperature" is around 260K (about -13°C) and the lowest around 190K (about -83°C).

Once every 53.5 days, NASA's Juno probe screams over Jupiter's cloud tops roughly 75 times as fast as a bullet.

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The dynamo is the engine powering Jupiter's magnetic field. The images are really important as they provide the information that was needed so that scientists can understand the interior structure of the planet, as well as its magnetic field and composition.

"We have essentially solved the issue of how Jupiter's interior rotates", Tristan Guillot, another Juno team member at the University of Côte d'Azur in France, said in the release.

"Thanks to the awesome increase in accuracy brought by Juno's gravity data, we have essentially solved the issue of how Jupiter's interior rotates: The zones and belts that we see in the atmosphere rotating at different speeds extend to about 1,900 miles". NASA says the team can propose to extend the mission past July 2018, so the Juno spacecraft might not be done just yet. NASA is likely to extend the mission by two or three years, pending a review.

Whatever you're doing right now is nearly certainly less exciting than this video of Jupiter's stormy poles.

Europa and another moon called Ganymede likely have oceans of liquid water - and possibly extraterrestrial life - beneath their surfaces.

Juno will make its 12th data-collecting pass around the planet on May 24, according to NASA. "But Juno is different - it orbits the planet from pole-to-pole and gets closer to Jupiter than any spacecraft ever before".


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