NASA’s Juno spacecraft has provided a more detailed look at Jupiter’s atmosphere. The first 3D view of Jupiter’s atmospheric layers has been created, demonstrating how its turbulent clouds and storms work in greater detail than ever before.
Most notably, the behavior of cyclones and anticyclones is better understood. They’re much taller than expected, with the Great Red Spot (an anticyclone) stretching for 200 miles. Depending on their spin, they’re either warmer or colder at the top.
Juno contributed to the data by using a microwave radiometer to peer beneath the clouds’ surfaces. The team supplemented the radiometer data for the Great Red Spot with gravity signatures from two close passes.
The radiometer data also revealed Earth-like circulation cells in both the northern and southern hemispheres, as well as ocean-like changes in microwave light.
There are still unanswered questions, such as the Great Red Spot’s atmospheric mass. Having said that, 3D imagery is already producing a more cohesive picture of how jovian planets such as Jupiter behave. More of Jupiter’s mysteries may not require much more effort to solve.