Jul 3, 2017
Jupiter: Atmosphere and aurora in unprecedented detail
"During our May 2017 observations that provided real-time support for Juno's sixth perijove, we obtained images and spectra of the Great Red Spot and its surroundings. Our observations showed that the Great Red Spot, the largest known vortex in the solar system, had a cold and cloudy interior increasing toward its center, with a periphery that was warmer and clearer. This implied that winds were upwelling more vigorously toward its center and subsiding on the periphery. A region to its northwest was unusually turbulent and chaotic, with bands that were cold and cloudy, alternating with bands that were warm and clear bands. This region is where air heading east toward the Great Red Spot flows around it to the north, where it encounters a stream of air flowing over it from the east," adds Orton. "This information will allow us to determine the three-dimensional structure of winds that are otherwise only tracked in two dimensions using cloud features in reflected sunlight." "A wide variety of filters installed in COMICS is advantageous in sensing Jupiter's temperatures in its upper troposphere and in its stratosphere," noted co-investigator and Subaru Telescope staff astronomer Takuya Fujiyoshi.
Juno has now made five close-up passes of Jupiter's atmosphere, the first of which was on August 27, 2016 and the latest (the sixth) on May 19 of 2017. Each of these close passes has provided Juno's science team with unexpected surprises, and the Juno science return has benefited from a coordinated campaign of Earth-based support. This campaign includes observations from spacecraft near or orbiting the Earth, covering X-ray through visible wavelengths and ground-based observatories covering near-infrared through radio wavelengths.
Another set of supporting observations that were simultaneous with the Subaru observations were made by the Gemini North telescope's NIRI instrument, which imaged Jupiter in the near-infrared, measuring reflected sunlight from cloud and haze particle in Jupiter's upper troposphere and lower stratosphere -- levels generally higher in Jupiter's atmosphere than most of the Subaru measurements, providing complementary information. "Wide coverage of wavelength available from the telescopes on Maunakea is thus advantageous for the study," Fujiyoshi says.
Read more at Science Daily