Results of Juno mission challenge our understanding of Jupiter
Ten months after their arrival on Jupiter, Juno’s mission to NASA began to provide – forcing scientists to evaluate how they felt about the giant planet. Juno’s earliest discoveries, published in Science, indicate that many aspects of Jupiter’s expectations defied – including the strength of its magnetic field, the shape of its nucleus, the distribution of ammonia, and time at its poles. This is certainly an exciting time to be a Jupiter scientist.
Juno arrived in Jupiter in July 2016 and began a long orbit loop that has moved away from the planet before retiring to its first scientific (perijove) on August 27. That is the fugitive collection that the new studies are based on. Today, despite the initial problems with the Juno engine and spacecraft software, the mission moved to a regular pattern of about 53.5 days – the sixth overview of May 19, the seventh is the 11th July.
Mysteries at the bottom
One of Juno’s main strengths is his ability to monitor roofing clouds to study the gas below, such as ammonia-forming clouds. The flow of ammonia forms the distinctive characteristics of Jupiter. It was expected that the gas would mix well, or soaked, in the highest cloud. This idea has turned upside down – the concentration of ammonia is much less than expected.
In an intriguing way, a large part of the ammonia is concentrated in an equatorial plume, from the depth of ceilings cloud Jupiter due to powerful drilling force. Scientists compare this to Earth’s Hadley cell, with dredge ammonia plumes hundreds of miles below.
We know that ammonia is upgraded to Jupiter’s equator for a while, but we did not know how deep this column is. However, it is important to remember that this is just the location on Jupiter and terrestrial infrared observations suggest that the pen may not be as strong elsewhere in the Jupiter equator, but could be uneven. Only with more périvove passes, we begin to understand the strange dynamics of the tropics of Jupiter.
We have never been able to see that before, even the first observations of Juno microwave instruments provide a lot of new ideas. These show that the band structure we see on the surface is really just the tip of the iceberg – Jupiter exhibits bands up to 350 km. It is much deeper than Jupiter’s generally considered “time layer” in the top ten kilometers. On the other hand, this structure is not the same as the bottom – which varies with depth, indicating a large and complex traffic pattern.
Gravity and magnetic fields
Surprises do not end here. Juno can deepen the planet by controlling small adjustments to the orbit of the spacecraft with the gravity field of Jupiter’s interior. Ultimately, these will be used to evaluate the core of Jupiter, although this can not be done in a single pass of perijove. Most scientists believe that the planet has a dense nucleus composed of ten times the Earth’s mass of heavier elements and occupies a small fraction of the radius. But the new measurements are incompatible with any previous model – perhaps suggesting a “spongy” nucleus scattered in the middle of the Jupiter radius.
In fact, the interior of Jupiter seems to be anything but uniform. Remember that scientists have spent years developing models of the interior of Jupiter on the basis of scattered data taken over great distances. Juno is testing these models to the extreme because he flies so close.
Jupiter has the most intense planetary magnetic field in the solar system, there is a buildup of wind, where the solar wind (known as the name of shock arc) slows down. Juno first crossed this region and in the Jovian magnetosphere June 24th. At its closest approach, Jupiter’s magnetic field strength was twice as strong as any predicted and much more irregular model.