Jupiter’s poles have, until now, been largely an unexplored region and it is proving to be a whole lot more turbulent than it was previously thought.
Juno spacecraft, which NASA sent to investigate Jupiter in more detail, noticed rather chaotic weather at the top and bottom of Jupiter. Up until this point, scientists were convinced that the giant planet is as boring as it gets on the surface.
However, it seems that this cannot be farther from the truth. It seems to be not only very different but also extremely complex, according to Juno’s chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute.
It seems that Jupiter’s poles do not look anything like its equatorial region. There are dozens of cyclones hundreds of miles across and still unidentifiable weather systems. When you were to look at Jupiter from the poles, it seems that it would be a tough one to guess it is actually Jupiter, Bolton shared.
The Cyclones are evidently clustered near the poles and are turning counter-clockwise, which is the same as cyclones on Earth. Some of these Jupiter’s cyclones seem to stretch up to 1,700 miles in diameter. There are even bigger weather systems present in both of the polar regions but they are rather shapeless. It is also interesting that the two polar regions seem to be completely different in terms of visual characteristics which is puzzling to scientists.
The next question the scientists are trying to figure out whether these huge cyclones are dynamic or stable – will they be constantly changing or will they stay the same for years to come. This will be a difficult one to find the answer to as only time will be able to tell. Just as interesting as that, will be figuring out how fast these cyclones actually are.
Juno is proving to be an invaluable asset in this mission as it is sending images of the biggest planet in our small solar system, and those images are the best close-up images that we have ever seen. Juno gets a close up of Jupiter approximately every two months and the encounters go by very fast since they last only two hours so the images are that much more important.