Jupiter's Great Red Spot is deeper than thought, shaped like lens
by Danielle Haynes
Washington DC (UPI) Oct 28, 2021
New studies of Jupiter's Great Red Spot released Thursday have found that while the meteorological phenomenon is deeper than originally thought, it's largely shaped like a flat lens about 10,000 miles wide.
The vortex storm, the largest of many such spots on Jupiter's surface, extends up to 310 miles below the planet's cloud tops, some 100 miles deeper than previous research indicated.
Two groups of scientists published their analyses of data from the Juno spacecraft on the GRS on Thursday in the scientific journal Science.
One team from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio put together a 3D map of Jupiter's atmosphere, giving scientists an "understanding of how Jupiter's beautiful and violent atmosphere works," SWRI principal investigator and lead author of one of the studies, Scott Bolton said.
"These new observations from Juno open up a treasure chest of new information about Jupiter's enigmatic observable features," said Lori Glaze, director of NASA's planetary science division. "Each paper sheds light on different aspects of the planet's atmospheric processes -- a wonderful example of how our internationally diverse science teams strengthen understanding of our solar system."
Juno traveled low over Jupiter's atmosphere -- a distance of about 400 million miles -- to measure velocity changes to determine the depth of the GRS.
The research also found that cyclones are warmer toward the top with lower atmospheric densities and colder at the bottom with higher densities. Anticyclones, which spin in the opposite direction, are colder at the top and warmer at the bottom.
"The precision required to get the Great Red Spot's gravity during the July 2019 flyby is staggering," said Marzia Parisi, a Juno scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and lead author of the second study in Science. "Being able to complement [Juno's microwave radiometer]'s finding on the depth gives us great confidence that future gravity experiments at Jupiter will yield equally intriguing results."
Juno, which was launched in 2011, has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, sending back valuable data to scientists including photographs and scientific readings.
Hubble Finds Evidence of Persistent Water Vapor in One Hemisphere of Europa
Stockholm, Sweden (SPX) Oct 18, 2021
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter's icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor - but, mysteriously, only in one hemisphere. Europa harbors a vast ocean underneath its icy surface, which might offer conditions hospitable for life. This result advances astronomers' understanding of the atmospheric structure of icy moons, and helps lay the groundwork for planned science missions to the Jovian system to, in part, explore whether an environment half-a-billi ... read more
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