How Jupiter gets its stripes is one of the astronomy is the most seductive secrets.
They are right. They are clearly defined. They have different colors.
Now, thanks to the Juno spacecraft currently in orbit around the gas giant, which we have been able to deduce what is happening under them.
Researchers from Australia and the United States are looking into the interaction between the planet’s atmosphere and magnetic field.
Dr. Navid Constantinou of the Research School of Earth Sciences The Australian National University (ANU) participated in the study.
“We know a lot about the jet streams in the atmosphere of the Earth and the important role they play in weather and climate, but we still have a lot to learn about Jupiter’s atmosphere,” he says.
Jupiter is a gas giant. It has no fixed surface, such as that of the Earth. Instead, it consists mainly of hydrogen and helium.
So do the winds go all the way down?
Thanks to Juno, we now know this huge funnels of wind extending some 3000km deep.
And that is not as far as expected.
“Scientists have long debated about how deep the jet streams reach under the surface of Jupiter and the other gas giants, and why they do not appear in the sun on the interior,” Dr. Constantinou says.
The theory put forward by the new study claims that the wind suppressed by strong magnetic fields.
“The gas in the interior of Jupiter is magnetized, so we think that our new theory explains why the jet streams go as deep as they do under the gas giant’s surface, but no further,” says Co-researcher Dr. Jeffrey Parker from Livermore National Laboratory in the United States.
Just as the jet streams of the Earth, our climate, Jupiter’s jet streams form the clouds of ammonia, to throw on in the gas giant’s upper layers of the atmosphere. This gives the planet its striking shades of white, red, orange, brown and yellow colored.
“The earth’s jet streams have a major influence on weather and climate by acting as a barrier and make it harder for the air to both sides of the exchange of properties, such as heat, moisture and carbon,” says Dr. Constantinou.
They have a similar effect on Jupiter. Up to a point.
They are also right. And is much faster.
“There are no continents, and mountains below Jupiter’s atmosphere to obstruct the path of the jet streams,” Dr. Parker adds.
“This makes the jet streams on Jupiter easier. By studying Jupiter, we are not only unravel the mysteries in the interior of the gas giant, but we can also use Jupiter as a laboratory for the study of the effects of atmospheric streams work in general.”
The study is published in The Astrophysical Journal.
This story was previously published in the news.com.au.