NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting Jupiter for 5 years, and its measurements apparently managed to detect data with an accuracy and depth that we wouldn’t be able to obtain with powerful ground-based telescopes.
Among the observed aspects of the planet there is certainly the observation of the Great Red Spot, an anticyclone that has lasted for 300 years and could engulf the Earth.
In 2017, Juno measurements indicated that the vortex extended 322 kilometers into Jupiter’s atmosphere. It was an amazing depth for scientists: it is about 50 to 100 times deeper than the Earth’s oceans. But now, the spacecraft’s latest flights have revealed that the storm could extend much less than that.
“That means it’s a giant storm,” said Yohai Caspi, a Juno researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. “If you put this storm on Earth, it will extend to the space station.”
But mysteriously, the jet streams surrounding the Great Red Spot extend even deeper, about 3,000 kilometers below the surface of Jupiter’s clouds. It’s not clear why but according to some mission researchers, something is going on at a depth of 500 kilometers causing the spot to quench.
Some also believe that this huge hurricane will disappear in a maximum of 10 years, but not everyone agrees. Meanwhile, fortunately, the Juno probe will remain there to update us on what’s going on for another 4 years.
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