Jupiter's Monster Storm Is 150-Years Old And 200-Miles Deep


"Juno data indicate that the solar system's most famous storm is nearly one-and-a-half Earths wide, and has roots that penetrate about 200 miles [300 kilometers] into the planet's atmosphere", Bolton said.

Juno aircraft was launched in 2011 with its main objective to know how deep are the roots of the giant red spot storm, a question researchers have now partially answered.

NASA's Juno spacecraft is getting to the roots of Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot. Bolton and his team presented Juno's results at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans yesterday (Dec. 11).

The revelation was made possible by Juno's Microwave Radiometer.

Jupiter's surface has some enormous storm of crimson clouds bigger than the Earth raging on it.

Measuring 10,000 miles (16,000 km) in width as of April 3, 2017, the storm is 1.3 times as wide as Earth.

But the new study shows that in terms of depth, "the Great Red Spot's roots go 50 to 100 times deeper than Earth's oceans and are warmer at the base than they are at the top", said Andy Ingersoll, a Juno co-investigator. "Winds are combined with variations in temperature, and the warmth of the spot's base describes the fierce winds we see at the top of the atmosphere". The data were collected in the mission's sixth science orbit, during which the spacecraft passed over Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

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According to Reuters, the Great Red Spot has been continuously monitored in some form from Earth since 1830. The large-scale structure of the Great Red Spot is visible in the data as deep into Jupiter as MWR can observe. However, the recent measurements by Earth-based telescopes and Juno findings say that the storm's width has diminished by one-third while its height has reduced by one-eighth since the Voyager times. "We only located it because Juno's unique orbit around Jupiter enables it to get close to the cloud tops while science collection flybys, and we flew through it".

Juno's ninth science pass over Jupiter will take place on December 16, while most of us here are watching Star Wars, satisfyingly. The particles are considered to be derived from energetic neutral atoms formed in the gas around the Jupiter moons Io and Europa.

Juno arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, after a almost five-year flight.

Juno's Jupiter Energetic Particle Detector Instrument also detected large concentrations of high-energy ion in the planet's relativistic electron radiation belt.

Juno also found a second charged region around the planet's high latitudes, in realms never before explored by any spacecraft.

To date, Juno has completed eight science passes over Jupiter. Its mission is to fly low over Jupiter's pervasive cloud cover (and occasionally a little bit into it), sending back information about the planet's makeup/structure/the component parts of the universe.

Juno had earlier identified auroras in Jupiter's poles. JPL researchers told NASA that this depth, along with the heat of the storm, explains some of the Great Red Spot's better known features, including it's out-of-this-world winds.