Astronomers observe a “unique meteorological monster” on Jupiter

Astronomers observe a “unique meteorological monster” on Jupiter

Depiction of the stratosphere winds near Jupiter's south pole.

Depiction of the stratosphere winds near Jupiter’s south pole.
picture: Which – which

For the first time ever, astronomers have measured winds within Jupiter’s middle atmosphere, and they have detected unexpectedly fast jet currents within the deep layers of the planet.

a paper The publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics gives a new meaning to the term “polar vortex”.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter / Sub Matrix (ALMA) in Chile, astronomers recorded the velocity of polar jets below the cloud tops, and, Gorgeous, Is it windy there? The fastest of these jets are moving at 895 mph (1,440 km / h), which is nearly five times faster than the winds produced by the most powerful hurricanes on Earth.

These jets under the main aurora of Jupiter (yes, Jupiter have it) said Thibaut Cavalli, lead author of the study and planetary scientist at the Astrophysic de Bordeaux laboratories in France, said: twilight, And it’s absolutely amazing), it appears to be the “lower tail of supersonic aircraft that were seen 900 kilometers.” [560 miles] Above, “As he explained in an e-mail. Cavalli said these currents could form“ a huge hurricane with a diameter of 3-4 Earth diameters and a vertical range of 900 km, ”adding:“ This is unique in the Solar System. ”

at statement Cavalli, developed by the European Southern Observatory, described the newly discovered feature as “a unique meteorological beast.”

It is not easy to measure wind speed below Jupiter’s stratosphere. The red and white iconic bands past Jupiter are usually used to measure winds in the upper layer, and the auroras of the planet, associated with strong winds in the upper atmosphere, are used as reference points. But to be fair, scientists haven’t really been able to measure the winds in Jupiter’s middle atmosphere – the stratosphere – yet.

Two things made these measurements possible: a famous comet and a very powerful telescope.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 affects Jupiter in 1994.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 affects Jupiter in 1994.
picture: Which – which

The comet in question is Shoemaker – Levy 9, which collided with Jupiter in 1994. The collision left distinct particles in the atmosphere, and they have been orbiting the gas giant for the past 27 years. The presence of these particles – that is, hydrogen cyanide – made it possible for Cavalli and colleagues to look beneath the tops of clouds and measure the velocity of jets in the stratosphere.

To discover these particles, the team used 42 of 66 high-resolution ALMA antennas, the first time scientists have obtained such measurements in Jupiter’s middle atmosphere.

Specifically, the ALMA data allowed scientists to measure small frequency changes in the radiation emissions of particles as the winds blew through this part of the planet. In other words, they measured the Doppler shift. By doing this, “we were able to infer the wind speed just as one could infer the speed of a passing train by changing the frequency of the train whistle,” explained Vincent Hugh, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. And co-author of the new study, in the ESO Statement.

These measurements showed that winds below twilights near the poles were moving at 895 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of winds orbiting inside the planet’s great red spot. towards Stratospheric winds have been recorded at the equator at an average speed of 373 mph (600 km / h).

High-speed winds were previously detected in the upper atmosphere, but scientists have found out The deeper you go the slower you go, in terms of wind speeds. The new research suggests otherwise, a discovery that came as a complete surprise to the team.

The newly discovered winds are fast, but neither is nor is it the fastest in the solar system The fastest on Jupiter. Cavalli said the winds observed below Jupiter’s aurora are “twice as fast as the winds measured at the top of the cloud in Jupiter.” However, “higher” and “still below the aurora in a layer called the ionosphere,” there are “hypersonic winds of 1 to 2 kilometers per second.” [0.62 to 1.24 miles per second], “Or 2,240 to 4,475 mph (3600 to 7200 km / h). He added that Neptune has the strongest winds in the solar system at cloud level, which are 25% faster than the winds that we measured under the aurora.

This research, in addition to measuring winds in Jupiter’s stratosphere, was conducted as a proof of concept for similar investigations with the Sub-Millimeter Wave Instrument (SWI) aboard the incoming spacecraft. Jupiter Ice Explorer Moons (juice). Scheduled to launch next year, it will be the first European mission to Jupiter, with its arrival expected in about 10 years.

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