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Cyclones circling Jupiter’s poles continue to baffle space astronomers

A team of space scientists associated with several US agencies, working with colleagues in Italy and France, used a model to partially explain the resilience of a hurricane orbiting Jupiter’s poles. did. In a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the group analyzed images captured by the Juno spacecraft and used what they learned could at least partially explain why hurricanes last so long. Describes how the shoal model was created.

In 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter. Unlike other such probes, it orbits the planet from pole to pole rather than around the equator. When the probe began sending back images of the planet from this new vantage point, researchers found it surprising. Not only did one cyclone sit at each pole, but both were surrounded by other cyclones. More images of the poles have emerged over time, and researchers who study them continue to be amazed at the stability of the cyclones. The original Cyclone is still there today, not even changed shape. Of course, such behavior is unheard of on Earth. A cyclone forms, moves around for a while, then disappears. Such behavior allowed researchers to find rational explanations for their observations.

Photographs from the planet’s north pole show he has eight cyclones around a central cyclone just above the pole. All eight are close together, all approximately equidistant from the central cyclone, and arranged in an octagonal pattern. Antarctica has a similar arrangement, but he has only five pentagon-shaped cyclones. In this new endeavor, the researchers tried a new approach to explaining why hurricanes stay in place for so long and how they stay in place without changing position or shape.

The team’s work included analyzing imagery and other data from Juno’s probe, particularly wind speed and direction. They then used what they learned to create a shallow water model, leading them to believe that there was an “anticyclonic ring” of wind moving in the opposite direction of the cyclone, holding the cyclone in place. That may be true, but the team couldn’t find any signs of convection that would help explain how the heat fueled the cyclones. We recognize that more research is needed to fully explain.

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  • Cyclones circling Jupiter’s poles continue to baffle space astronomers
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