Space & Astronomy
Jupiter's iconic cloud bands are only skin deep
By T.K. Randall
August 10, 2018 · 0 comments
Jupiter's colorful bands do not descend far beneath its surface. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have determined just how far down Jupiter's colorful atmospheric bands actually go.
The striking ammonia bands, which paint the gas giant's atmosphere various shades of red, brown, orange and yellow, have long remained one of Jupiter's most iconic and recognisable features.
Now according to a new study in to how the planet's magnetic field affects its atmospheric flows, scientists have determined that these bands only descend around three percent of the way down.
The research aimed to build up a better picture of what lies deep beneath Jupiter's cloud layers.
"We know a lot about the jet streams in Earth's atmosphere and the key role they play in the weather and climate, but we still have a lot to learn about Jupiter's atmosphere," said Dr Navid Constantinou from the Australian National University's research school of earth sciences.
"Scientists have long debated how deep the jet streams reach beneath the surfaces of Jupiter and other gas giants, and why they do not appear in the sun's interior."
Data from NASA's Juno probe suggests that these jet streams may descend up to 1,860 miles.
"The gas in the interior of Jupiter is magnetised, so we think our new theory explains why the jet streams go as deep as they do under the gas giant's surface but don't go any deeper," said Dr Jeffrey Parker from Livermore National Laboratory.
Source: Sky News
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