New data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft show that the Jupiter winds blow deep into its atmosphere and last longer than similar atmospheric processes taking place on Earth. The findings of the new study, published in the journal Nature, will improve understanding of Jupiter’s inner structure, its mass, its core, and ultimately its origins.
The depth at which the roots of the famous Zion belts extend, has been a mystery for decades. The gravity measurements gathered by the Juno spacecraft during its short walks from the planet now gave an answer. “The measurement of Juno’s gravity field by Juno shows a north-south asymmetry, similar to the asymmetry seen in its zones,” the researchers said in their study.
On a gas planet, such asymmetry can only flow from flows deep into the planet, and in Zeus, the visible currents to the east and west are also asymmetrical north and south. The deeper the currents, the larger the mass they contain, leading to a stronger signal expressed in the gravitational field. Thus, the magnitude of asymmetry in gravity determines how deep the currents extend.
“Galileo recorded these currents in Zeus more than 400 years ago,” the researchers also state. “Until now, we only had a superficial understanding of them and we had the ability to relate these streams to the clouds’ characteristics along the Jupiter winds.”