Cyclones churning over Jupiter's poles captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft

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Jupiter's beauty is more than skin deep.

The winds of the planet are determined by the same laws that regulate the atmospheric circulation on the Earth where the high and low pressure zones, associated with different densities of the atmosphere, force the movement of large air masses: the deeper the winds, the greater the atmospheric masses put into motion and the greater the variation of gravity generated. Kaspi, are much stronger than the fiercest winds on Earth, and they have lasted for at least hundreds of years.

To measure the gravity of Jupiter, Luciano Iess and his colleagues at the University of Rome in Italy studied the very slight variations in radio signals sent and recieved by the Juno probe. The deeper the winds go, the larger the asymmetry.

"Since Jupiter is basically a giant ball of gas", said Kaspi, "the initial expectation was that there would be no asymmetries in the gravity field between the north and south".

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"On a gas planet, such an asymmetry can just originate from streams profound inside the planet; and on Jupiter, the unmistakable eastbound and westbound fly streams are in like manner unbalanced north and south".

"The question is, why do they not merge?" said Adriani. The findings were confirmed with all the researchers getting the same measurements.

The study, authored by scientists from an worldwide group of institutions including the University of Chicago, is published in March 8's Nature as part of a set of four papers dedicated to new observations from the Juno spacecraft. Using some of the same methods they developed to characterize the jet-streams, they are trying to understand how deep this giant storm extends. "In addition, the gravity signature of the jets is entangled with the gravity signal of the interior (e.g., Jupiter's core)". Now, thanks to unprecedented findings from NASA's Juno spacecraft, we have a better idea about what happens at the core of this turbulent titan. "The fact that Jupiter has such a massive region rotating in separate east-west bands is definitely a surprise". Each with their own individual morphologies, say the researchers. For comparison, Earth's atmosphere contains less than one millionth of our planet's mass.

Among the scientific mysteries uncovered are freaky geometric constellations of cyclones on both of Jupiter's poles. These clouds and winds are thought to be as old as the planet itself, but until now we haven't been able to tell what exactly lies beneath these bands that have obscured our vision of the surface for so long. The geometric arrays of storms is baffling as each of these storms is arrayed around one cyclone over the north and south poles-unlike any storm formation seen in the universe. Kaspi explained that the planet's wind belts, which are much stronger than the fiercest winds on Earth with speeds of up to 220 miles per hour in places - stronger than a Category-5 hurricane, cause an imbalance in its distribution of mass. Measuring this imbalance - changes in the planet's gravity field - would allow them to calculate how deep the storms extend below the surface.

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