Juno reveals the first image of the turbulent interior of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System

Juno reveals the first image of the turbulent interior of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System


The existence of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System and visible to the naked eye from Earth, has been known for more than 25 centuries.

Such is its size that almost anyone, with a simple telescope, can get to see the traces of its turbulent atmosphere, with giant storms and winds that can reach 360 kilometers per hour.

But that is all that had been observed up to that moment. Something that is changing now thanks to NASA’s Juno probe, which arrived in Jupiter in July 2016 and since then has been revealing the secrets of its depths.

Thanks to measurements made by Juno, an international team of astronomers has concluded that Jupiter’s atmospheric currents are not simply a surface phenomenon, but reach about 3,000 kilometers in depth .

Asymmetric gravitational field

No other ship had ventured as close to Jupiter as Juno, since the powerful radiation emitted by the planet harms electronic measuring instruments.

JupiterCopyright of the NASA imageImage caption After decades of debate, we now know that these band flows extend to 3,000 km depth. Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Kevin M. Gill

And the result has been surprising: Juno has revealed that the gravitational field of Jupiter is asymmetric and that this is due to the enormous currents that cross the planet.

The NASA space probe was sent in 2011 on an epic five-year journey to study the secrets of this giant gas planet and try to understand how exoplanets of similar composition are found near other stars.

The researchers also consider Jupiter as a kind of laboratory where it is possible to find phenomena that do not exist on Earth, such as hydrogen and helium subjected to enormous pressures.

As the mission progresses, more unknowns will be revealed about this surprising planet.

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