NASA is giving people the chance of getting an extraordinary look at Jupiter's north pole. The flyover provides a look at the cyclones that are swirling around the planet's north pole using infrared imaging.
Scientists knew that cyclones were present on the planet, but what they found was unprecedented.
Images of Jupiter's north pole were captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft. Scientists used the infrared imagery captured by Juno's Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM). Juno captured the images during a flyby of the planet in early 2017. It is currently on an elliptical orbit of the planet, which allows passing by Jupiter's poles every 53.5 days.
JIRAM can capture light being emitted by Jupiter regardless of the time of the day. It is able to capture images from as deep as 30 to 45 miles below Jupiter's cloud cover. Scientists have used this instrument to investigate Jupiter's magnetic field.
NASA's video shows that there are colossal storms located at Jupiter's north pole. It can be seen that there are eight storms surrounding the central polar vortex. Those storms can range from 2,500 miles to 2,900 miles in diameter.
Temperatures depicted in the video can range from 9 degrees Fahrenheit (-13 degrees Celsius) to -117 degrees Fahrenheit (-83 degrees Celsius).
NASA scientists have also revealed the first look at Jupiter's dynamo. The dynamo or engine is what is powering Jupiter's powerful magnetic field. This is the first time that a dynamo has been captured powering a magnetic field on another planet.
Researchers were able to create a new magnetic field model of Jupiter by using measurements from eight orbits around the planet. They were able to make maps of the magnetic field at the surface and the region below the surface where the dynamo originates.
Maps of Jupiter's magnetic field reveal that it is more complex in the northern hemisphere than in the southern hemisphere. There is also an area between the north pole and equator where the magnetic field is intense and positive. In the southern hemisphere, the magnetic field is negative. Its intensity increases the closer it gets to the pole.
Jack Connerney of the Space Research Corporation says that Juno is only one-third of the way done through the mapping mission. He adds that his team is already beginning to understand how Jupiter's dynamo works.
A planetary dynamo is a theory that proposes that there is something within a celestial body that powers its magnetic field. This can occur in objects such as planets or stars.