The Great Red Spot: Jupiter’s iconic, rolling eyes, a never-ending storm that could engulf the entire Earth. Scientists have determined the depth of the planet from a distance and now see that the cosmic cyclone is about 300 miles wide in the atmosphere of the gas giant.
Take advantage of sensitive devices within NASA Juno The space probe, the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter in two decades, has been discovered by astronomers using gravity and microwave measurements to show that the Great Red Spot goes deeper and has a more complex structure than previously thought. They have published their results Journal Science Thursday.
“This is the first window we’ve got in the depths of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, an astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who is the lead investigator on the Juno mission and author of two research papers. “If you look at the Great Red Spot on the side, it looks like a pancake, but we expected the pancake to be even thinner.”
Juno is slightly larger than a school bus, and it has been dwarfed by the largest planet in our vicinity, with the probe orbiting at altitudes above 10,000 miles since 2016. But it packs a lot of sophisticated technology into its frame, including the tools needed to test its gravity science. Since Jupiter does not have the same density everywhere, its rolling internal parts can be tested by tiny fluctuations in the planet’s gravitational pull. Juno is equipped with a radio transponder that bounces signals from NASA’s Deep Space Network, an array of radio antennas on Earth that support various interplanetary space missions. If there is a slight change in the frequency at the return signal, it means that the speed of the spacecraft has shifted – it is flying due to the high or low pull of gravity within a certain part of Jupiter. It’s a similar idea to NASA Please Satellite Measure eroded groundwater Below the surface of the earth.
“The demonstration is very small: we’re talking 10 micrometers per second. It’s amazing that we have this accuracy with this device,” said Margia Parisi, a Juno scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and another new study focusing on this gravitational measure.
Parisi and her colleagues observed that most of the mass of the Great Red Spot is within 200 or 300 miles above Jupiter’s atmosphere. That is not small. If such a storm were to form on Earth, its height would be greater than the distance between the ground and the height. International Space Station.
Astronomers often compare Jupiter’s atmospheric activity to Earth’s weather. The Great Red Spot can be compared to the biggest hurricane or cyclone. (Technically, since the giant storm is turning counterclockwise, scientists call it a AntiCyclones.) But terrestrial weather is mediated by the lower oceans and landmass, which can break a cyclone, while Jupiter is gas everywhere. “I don’t think we can have a permanent cyclone on Earth,” Parisi said. Astronomers believe that the Great Red Spot has survived for many centuries.