Home » News & Blogs » Jaw-dropping images of Jupiter from ground and space display its massive storms
Bookmark and Share
Bad Astronomy

Jaw-dropping images of Jupiter from ground and space display its massive storms

8 May 2020, 13:00 UTC
Jaw-dropping images of Jupiter from ground and space display its massive storms
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Jupiter is not here to screw around.

Concurrent observations of the solar system's mightiest planet by Hubble Space Telescope, the Gemini Observatory, and the Juno spacecraft show that Jupiter's thunderstorms are ridiculously huge, towering skyward for 80 kilometers or more, powered by heat from below and water in the atmosphere. That's five times taller than similar storm systems on Earth.

I technically live in the midwestern plains of the U.S., and I've seen some powerful and terrifying storms. Jupiter's make these look like friendly breezes.

Juno has orbited Jupiter since July 2016. It's on a long, elliptical orbit that takes it from several million kilometers out to so close to the planet that it almost skims the cloud tops, screaming past at 200,000 kilometers per hour. It's equipped with a lot of different detectors, including one that senses radio waves emitted when lightning zaps in Jupiter's atmosphere.

That happens a lot. A recent study showed Jupiter crackles with lightning from between 2,000 to 60,000 times per second. Per second. That means there must be a lot of storm cloud activity on the planet too, and that's where Gemini and Hubble come in. They observed Jupiter at the same time Juno ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod