Space & Astronomy
Enigmatic green flash shows up in photo of Jupiter's swirling clouds
By T.K. Randall
June 22, 2023 · 3 comments
What caused this green flash ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS
The image, which was captured by NASA's Juno spacecraft, shows something quite spectacular.
It has certainly been an interesting time for the scientists behind NASA's Juno probe - a spacecraft that launched all the way back in 2011 with the goal of studying Jupiter (the largest planet in our solar system) as well as its contingent of intriguing and diverse moons.
This recently published image, which was snapped back in 2020, was taken from 19,900 miles above the gas giant's atmosphere during Juno's 31st close flyby of the planet.
It shows what appears to be a mysterious neon green flash among the vast, swirling clouds of Jupiter's north polar region.
While it is easy to get carried away speculating what it might be, this flash is actually a telltale sign of Jovian lightning - something typical on Jupiter of clouds containing an ammonia-water solution.
While this phenomenon has been observed on Jupiter before, it wasn't until Juno arrived that it was possible to determine the similarities between this lightning and the lightning we see on Earth.
"Jupiter lightning distribution is inside-out relative to Earth," said Shannon Brown of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"There is a lot of activity near Jupiter's poles but none near the equator."
"You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics-this doesn't hold true for our planet."
Source: Mail Online
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