Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Jupiter's Poles Show Geometric Arrays of Storms

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Jupiter's Poles Show Geometric Arrays of Storms

Article excerpt

Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system, has no tilt as it moves, so its poles have never been visible from Earth.

But in the past two years, with NASA's Juno spacecraft, scientists have gotten a good look at the top and bottom of the planet for the first time, finding bizarre geometric arrangements of storms. Each storm arrayed around one cyclone over the north and south poles, unlike any storm formation seen in the universe.

The study was published in Nature as part of a set of four papers dedicated to new observations from the Juno spacecraft.

Juno launched in 2011 with the ambitious mission of finally seeing beneath the dense clouds covering Jupiter. On July 4, 2016, it finally reached the planet's orbit. Since then, it has been orbiting the planet, taking pictures, and measuring the planet's profile in infrared, microwave, ultraviolet, gravity, and magnetism.

New insights from the Juno mission have answered questions scientists have had about Jupiter for decades. One of these involved what lay at its elusive poles. The images stunned scientists. At the north pole, eight storms surrounded one storm at the center. At the south pole, it was the same arrangement, only with five storms. …

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