Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter

From NASA

June 27, 2019

Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter

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This stunning image of Jupiter’s stormy northern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet. Some bright-white clouds can be seen popping up to high altitudes on the right side of Jupiter’s disk.

Juno took the four images used to produce this color-enhanced view on May 29, 2019, between 3:52 a.m. EDT and 4:03 a.m. EDT, as the spacecraft performed its 20th science pass of Jupiter. At the time the images were taken, the spacecraft was between 11,600 miles (18,600 kilometers) and 5,400 miles (8,600 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, above a northern latitude spanning from about 59 to 34 degrees.

Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. JunoCam’s raw images are available for the public to peruse and process into image products at: https://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam/processing

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

Last Updated: June 27, 2019

Editor: Yvette Smith

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32 thoughts on “Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter

  1. How do tidal forces work?
    Io is caught in a tug-of-war between Jupiter’s massive gravity and the smaller but precisely timed pulls from two neighboring moons that orbit further from Jupiter – Europa and Ganymede. Io orbits faster than these other moons, completing two orbits every time Europa finishes one, and four orbits for each one Ganymede makes. This regular timing means that Io feels the strongest gravitational pull from its neighboring moons in the same orbital location, which distorts Io’s orbit into an oval shape. This in turn causes Io to flex as it moves around Jupiter.

    For example, as Io gets closer to Jupiter, the giant planet’s powerful gravity deforms the moon toward it and then, as Io moves farther away, the gravitational pull decreases and the moon relaxes. The flexing from gravity causes tidal heating – in the same way that you can heat up a spot on a wire coat hanger by repeatedly bending it, the flexing creates friction in Io’s interior, which generates the tremendous heat that powers the moon’s extreme volcanism.
    https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/io-volcanoes-displaced.html

    • Tidal forces result from the fact that gravitational pull decreases with distance. Hence when two objects approach each other, the portions of the object that are closer will be pulled by gravity with a greater force than the distant portions are. This will tend to “stretch” the object.

      • Yes, it is the gravity gradient which causes the flexing and that is proportional to the inverse cube of the distance.

        BTW the “Junocam” is a mickey mouse webcam, hooked on at the last minute for public “outreach”, it was not even wanted by the mission scientists.

  2. it been a source of wonder for me for a few years now :
    how can a relatively tiny, low energy radio emitter be detected from such a great distance when it is in the glare of the 2nd most radioactive object in the solar system? It’s like detecting from Earth a man with a 100W electric torch who is in low orbit around the sun. On top of that, the signal is so good it can transmit high res, 24bit photos of a complex vista.
    Doe it use a some sort of RASER? (a radio laser) to keep the signal undispersed?
    deep solar system satellite to Earth transmission is amazing and hard to believe.

    • meems, The radioactivity of something, like Jupiter, is not related to whether radio-signals can come from there. Radioactivity, i.e. ionizing radiation, isn’t the same as RF energy at all. RF is lower than light, and things like X-rays and Gamma-rays are higher frequency than light.

      It’s important to understand that radio signals of a narrow frequency band, and at a fairly high frequency, like those used by satellite telemetry are not coming from Jupiter normally. Jupiter has ionizing radiation, light, and some RF coming from it. The radio signal is RF, and only RF, and in a unique frequency band for the neighborhood. It’s also modulated and error-corrected with built in correction data so that “bad data bits” can be corrected without re-sending the whole thing.

      The frequencies used for talking to the space-probe are radio signals, nothing really to do with radioactivity or light. You can put a WiFi antenna in front of a searchlight that’s also emitting x-rays and neutrons, and still get your WiFi just fine.

      • “The radioactivity of something, like Jupiter, is not related to whether radio-signals can come from there.”

        radioactive i.e. ionising radiation is a misnomer. The correct meaning of radioactive is radio active. I would hope u’d get which meaning i was using from the context.

        “some RF coming from it.”
        thats understating it. Jupiter emits lots of radiowaves, its radiobursts can outshine the sun over significant bandwidths.

        “The radio signal (of the photographer satellite ) is RF, and only RF”
        uh oh, charlatan detected. Where are u getting your information from? I think you’re fabricating. I was hoping a telecom expert would reply rather than someone who doesn’t know anything about it. Juno uses X-band microwaves to communicate with Earth.

        • meems,
          Joe was mostly correct; radioactive is a valid technical term and is used to describe something that is decaying and emitting subatomic particles as a result. If you look up the definition of “radioactive” you won’t find references to RF or Radio Frequencies, except perhaps to note that very early researchers into radioactivity originally thought what they were detecting “radio waves” and thus misnamed the phenomena.

          While Juno does indeed use X-band (microwave) to communicate with Earth, note that microwaves are indeed part of the RF spectrum. They can filter out background noise using a variety of techniques, one of which is to lock on to only properly modulated signals at the precise frequency that Juno is using. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, since they have to compensate for the phase distortion due to the spacecraft’s movement relative to the receiver, but this is no place for a course on signal processing.

          By the way, I’m not a charlatan either. My HAM callsign is KC0MSQ. I have built my own antennas and have a good grasp of RF theory.

          • ” radioactive is a valid technical term”
            I know. And thanks for rephrasing with a bit more info what I already stated about it being a misnomer.

            microwaves are radio frequency waves huh? How far does the RF spectrum go? Infrared? Optical? X-ray?

            Please shed some light on how signal attenuation is dealt with over such long distances. Could a 100W optical signal from juno be seen from Earth?

          • Sorry this is not a classroom and I’m not your teacher. If you wish to know more, there’s lots of resources on the Internet, not to mention good old books. Or you could go back to school, but in the meantime, you may want to refrain from commenting on subjects that you have little knowledge about or you risk looking like a fool.

          • thought you’d say that. Fools like to discuss, but self proclaimed ‘good graspers’ are tight lipped, too busy, and are sorry that the internet is not a classroom. Well, maybe its better I don’t grasp RF as well as you, because I could not subscribe to your philosophy on sharing knowledge.

          • I’m not going to play this childish game with you anymore. If i want some of that action kid, I’ve got grandchildren, and they are much more deserving of my time than some internet punk that can’t be bothered to do their own research. One last tip (mostly for others who may be reading this): real understanding can only come from hard work, it can’t be given to you.

    • When the Huygens lander touched down on the surface of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, its signals were relayed to Earth by the Cassini spacecraft that had carried it. At its closest to Earth, Saturn is still 1.2 billion km away. Yet the signal from Huygens was not only received through the Cassini rely, but the Deep Space Network picked it up directly! I read a report in real time on this, and it stated that the Huygens lander’s radio transmitter had no more power than a normal cell phone, yet the DSN was able to receive it directly.

      Astonished, I mentioned this to my older son. His response was “What phone company are they using? I want to sign up!”

      • i wish we had someone who could explain how such a low signal strength manages to travel 1.2Bkm and not get attenuated to undetectable. No one seems to know. History may be repeating the fall of classical civilization, In this era of science we may already have lost vital knowledge that may not be recovered until the next age of enlightenment.
        The same thing happens with that new horizons pluto probe at 5Bkm, using the same power as a TV remote control. Just how low can we go here? Could a probe sent to alpha centauri go into low stellar orbit and send back imagery with the power of a single monitor pixel?

      • radio transmitter signal strength manages to travel 1.2Bkm and not get attenuated to undetectable:

        radio transmitter signal never manages to get undetectable. It rather gets lost in surrounding noise.

      • meems July 3, 2019 at 3:05 pm

        i wish we had someone who could explain how such a low signal strength manages to travel 1.2Bkm and not get attenuated to undetectable:

        The trace gas CO2 isn’t “undetectable” – though it’s invisible.

  3. From the article: “Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. ”

    Citizen scientist! Love it!

    One good thing about today, if you are a young person interested in science, there are now many opportunities for you to get directly involved in the particular science of your interest. All sorts of science projects for young people are currently ongoing, where they can make real contributions to advancing science.

    • I wonder why they referred to him as a ‘scientist’ when for this task he is a ‘citizen image processor’, and his profession is software engineering.
      Not really, the media misuse ‘scientist’ as a buzzword of approval for anyone related to space and tech.

  4. Kaspi and co-workers show that the magnitude of the winds decays slowly with depth until about 3,000 kilometres below Jupiter’s surface (roughly one-twentieth of the planet’s radius), a point at which the pressure is about 100,000 times that of the atmosphere at Earth’s surface. The volume of Jupiter in which these winds occur represents about 1% of the planet’s mass.

    Guillot et al.3 confirmed the 3,000-kilometre depth reported by Kaspi and colleagues using the symmetrical component of Jupiter’s gravitational field. They demonstrate that, below this depth, the planet’s interior rotates as a solid body, despite its fluid nature. This is in accordance with the prediction that hydrogen ionizes to produce free-moving protons and electrons in such a high-pressure environment. These particles generate strong drag forces that suppress winds flowing in opposite directions.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02612-y

  5. So this is not a real photograph of Jupiter, it is a colourful imagination based on NASA Data carried out by Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill. There are so many Computer Graphic Images out there today but very few actual photographs seem to be released to back the imagination up.

    • Wrong. This is a combination of multiple images of different resolutions. There is no camera made today that could take a super high resolution of the entire disk of Jupiter. So separate up close images are stitched together to make a complete one. Please do not denigrate Mr. Gill or minimize the effort it took to do something like this; I’m sure he has many long hours invested in this effort. He should be applauded, not insulted.

      • Why not? We have cameras that can take high quality video of the sun. And just what is ‘super high resolution’ ? 10Mpixels? Today 16.8Mpixel cameras are available on ebay at ‘medium’ tier cost ( a middle class person can afford one if he saves for a year or 2) , e.g. the iKon-XL 231 that can be used to take photos of galaxy super clusters, whats stopping people pointing these cameras at Jupiter?

        • Of course you can point any camera at Jupiter and take a picture, but you won’t get very much detail from earth, even though the biggest telescopes. That’s one of the reasons we send spacecraft to other planets; you need to get up close to pick up details. Given what they are doing, they don’t just send a consumer level, or even a pro-level 35mm unit. Generally these kind of systems take high resolution continuous strips using multiple filters as them move over their targets. It takes a lot of effort to put these strips together to form what looks like a single simple image. For more information search nasa.gov for JunoCam. There’s a nice video explaining the basics and a long PDF that goes into all the gory details.

    • as someone who has done some image processing mapping flat images onto spherical surfaces, I think Kevin’s rendition is a bit off, the 2 main bands appear disproportionate and bulbous to the rest of the latitudinal layers. Such distortions happen if the mapping isn’t exact \ true, kind of like too much fish-eye perspective being used.

  6. On the Discoveries Concerning Jupiter and Venus

    In the light of recent discoveries of radio waves from Jupiter and of the high surface temperature of Venus, we think it proper and just to make the following statement.

    On 14 October 1953, Immanuel Velikovsky, addressing the Forum of the Graduate College of Princeton University in a lecture entitled “Worlds in Collision in the Light of Recent Finds in Archaeology, Geology and Astronomy: Refuted or Verified?,” concluded the lecture as follows: “The planet Jupiter is cold, yet its gases are in motion. It appears probable to me that it sends out radio noises as do the sun and the stars. I suggest that this be investigated.”

    Soon after that date, the text of the lecture was deposited with each of us [it is printed as supplement to Velikovsky’s Earth in Upheaval (Doubleday, 1955)]. Eight months later, in June 1954, Velikovsky, in a letter, requested Albert Einstein to use his influence to have Jupiter surveyed for radio emission. The letter, with Einstein’s marginal notes commenting on this proposal, is before us. Ten more months passed, and on 5 April 1955 B. F. Burke and K. L. Franklin of the Carnegie Institution announced the chance detection of strong radio signals emanating from Jupiter. They recorded the signals for several weeks before they correctly identified the source.

    This discovery came as something of a surprise because radio astronomers had never expected a body as cold as Jupiter to emit radio waves (1).

    In 1960 V. Radhakrishnah of India and J. A. Roberts of Australia, working at California Institute of Technology, established the existence of a radiation belt encompassing Jupiter “giving 1014 times as much radio energy as the Van Allen belts around the earth.”

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