jupiter hurricanes

By Jove!

By Jove! By Jupiter?

Initial interpretations of Jupiter data have peer reviewed suggested, amongst many surprises, that:

  • Jupiter’s gravity varies
  • South and north auroras are formed by unknown or not considered processes
  • Magnetic field is double the predicted strength
  • Weather systems beneath the upper surface
  • Multiple hurricanes connecting and interacting with each other
  • Wonderful visual confirmation of Jupiter’s ring

NASA’s Juno mission has again surprised scientists and theories.

Jupiter’s gravity varies

the first gravity sensing data is pointing to some weirdness in respect of Jupiter’s centre. Theories had suggested it either had a relatively small rocky core or no core at all (one suggestion was that the planet’s gases went all the way down to the centre in an ever more compressed state).

Scientists are now considering something in between – a diffuse core. “It really looks fuzzy,” said Dr Bolton. “There may be a core there but it’s very big and it may be partially dissolved, and we’re studying that.”
Juno peers below Jupiter’s clouds | BBC

Jupiter’s aurorae

Although many of the observations have terrestrial analogs, it appears that different processes are at work in exciting the aurora and in communicating the ionosphere-magnetosphere interaction. We observed plasmas upwelling from the ionosphere, providing a mechanism whereby Jupiter helps populate its magnetosphere. The weakness of the magnetic field-aligned electric currents associated with the main aurora and the broadly distributed nature of electron beaming in the polar caps suggest a radically different conceptual model of Jupiter’s interaction with its space environment. The (precipitating) energetic particles associated with jovian aurora are very different from the peaked energy distributions that power the most intense auroral emissions at Earth.
Jupiter’s magnetosphere and aurorae observed by the Juno spacecraft during its first polar orbits

The non surprise of surprised scientists

Why are scientists constantly amazed and surprised by what they find? Should their theories not predict something close so that they are not to surprised?

Scientists working on the American space agency’s new Juno mission say its initial observations at Jupiter have taken their breath away. In particular, they have been amazed by the storms seen at the planet’s poles. “Think of a bunch of hurricanes, every one the size of the Earth, all packed so close together that each hurricane touches the other,” said Mike Janssen.

“Even in rooms of hardened researchers, these images of swirling clouds have drawn gasps,” the Nasa man added.
Juno peers below Jupiter’s clouds | BBC

Is Jupiter a normal planet in different mode? Is Jupiter a brown dwarf planet?

Back to that peer reviewed drawing board …