Although the two planets don’t have much in common, if you put satellite images of hurricanes on Earth alongside Jupiter’s hurricanes, you might not be able to tell them apart.
In a new study published on Monday in the journal Nature Physics, scientists tried to solve the mystery, as oceanographer Leah Sigelman of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said: “When I saw the turbulence surrounding Hurricanes Jovian on Jupiter, I remembered that turbulence we see in the ocean around the accompanying eddies hurricanes on our planet.
Earlier, scientists attributed the disturbances of Jupiter to the mechanism of convection, but they did not have enough detailed data to confirm this theory, until the Juno spacecraft reached Jupiter, and took its place in orbit around the gas giant planet, allowing us to obtain detailed images of the turbulent regions. .
The convection mechanism is one of the methods of heat transfer, in which the air carries heat from the hot place to the cold place during its movement due to the density difference. Its nucleus is transferred to the photosphere by convection.
Because the distance between Jupiter and the Sun is very large (779 million km), the heat that reaches from the Sun is weak, and to keep the planet from freezing, the process of convection under the surface produces enough heat to sustain the gas giant.
Convection also occurs in the atmosphere of our planet, and moist convection leads to the development of thunderstorms, which are often responsible for severe weather around the world. Like hurricanes.
Unlock the puzzle
Thanks to the Juno spacecraft, scientists have observed – for the first time – strange groups of hurricanes with a diameter of 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles), accompanied by smaller eddies, with diameters ranging from 100 to 1,600 km.
The Juno spacecraft is equipped with two cameras: an optical and an infrared, with a resolution of up to 10 km. Siegelman and her colleagues analyzed Juno’s images of Jupiter’s north pole, using optical image sequences to track the motions of clouds, which in turn gave estimates of wind speed and direction.
Infrared images also allowed to know the temperatures of these images, as in the hottest regions there are less dense clouds, while the cooler regions represent more dense clouds.
This data made it possible to decipher the mystery of Jupiter’s hurricanes, as scientists found that the rapid increase in temperature rises by convection, transports the less dense air to the top of the giant cyclones, which allows them to continue.
Despite understanding how hurricanes act on Jupiter, scientists have not yet figured out why hurricanes start in the first place.
The researchers say that the strange similarity between Earth and Jupiter may lead to providing some ideas about the processes that occur in the atmosphere of our planet, as some observations indicate that the convection process may be very similar on both planets.