Juno’s MWR instrument can split up the different layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere to see how far down the GRS exists. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI
The weird and wonderful nature of Jupiter keeps bringing us new surprises, as the NASA spacecraft, Juno, continues on it’s journey over the gas giant’s cloud tops. This time, the spacecraft has revealed that the famous cloud-top feature, the Great Red Spot (GRS), on Jupiter penetrates far below the cloud tops. Not only that, but there are two new radiation zones that had been unexplored prior to the mission.
This news was announced recently at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans. Juno has many science instruments onboard, but the one responsible for uncovering the true depth of the GRS is the Microwave Radiometer (MWR). “Juno’s Microwave Radiometer has the unique capability to peer deep below Jupiter’s clouds,” says Michael Janssen, Juno co-investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “It is proving to be an excellent instrument to help us get to the bottom of what makes the Great Red Spot so great.”
“One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?” says Scott ...