It took five years of waiting until we had access to the first images of Jupiter. The images taken by the Juno spacecraft reveal a complex planet with large cyclones, storms, radiation and an intense magnetic field that change the notion and knowledge of this planet.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which is in Jupiter’s orbit, proves that the gaseous giant has a very complex weather system. Of all the material collected, reports of high clouds arrive, “so high that some were seen at night”, reports NASA scientists, and turbulent cyclones that reach up to 1,400km, speed 10 times the size of the planet’s cyclones Earth.
The probe also analyzed the magnetic field of the largest planet in the Solar System, and realized that this force of attraction is twice as strong as Earth’s and is “stronger in one place and weaker in others”. This unstable weather system is mainly due to ammonia flows which, when struck, cause climatic disturbances.
Also studied are the auroras of the planet, the great spectacles of light in the poles of Jupiter are due to the electrons that move to the upper atmosphere of the planet, where, when they collide, they potentiate the same phenomena.
“The weather is dramatic. What we thought we knew about Jupiter was underestimated. There are more variants, more details and features every time you look closer, “said Fran Benegal, a space physicist who has joined this space mission for more than 10 years.
The physicist further confessed that they were “all excited when the images arrived. You have to be patient, but the results are fantastic”.
The spacecraft was launched on August 5, 2011 and it took five years for Juno to enter Jupiter’s orbit – on July 4, 2016. From that date, it was in orbit at the poles, under strong and intense radiations of the planet. Every 53 days the ship passes near Jupiter and accelerates on its clouds. In just 2 hours, the aircraft travels from a point north of Jupiter, goes to a pole in the South and returns to the starting position. The data collected may take up to two days to be revealed.
The planet Jupiter is a gaseous giant made up of hydrogen and helium and is 11 times larger than Earth. All other planets, but also asteroids and comets, would fit inside.
The Juno spacecraft’s mission is to build the map of the interior of the planet and the next challenge is to find out what the inner core of the planet is like.
The next spatial approximation of this probe will take place on 11 July this year.