June 18, 2024

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NASA’s Juno captures image of ghostly Jupiter lightning

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A NASA spacecraft has captured the eerie glow of lightning inside a swirling vortex on Jupiter.

The green bolt has been seen inside one of the many vortices that gather near Jupiter’s north pole.

Scientists are still trying to understand many aspects of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, including Jupiter severe storms And how lightning and Lightning-like events Talk on the gas giant.

Lightning bolts originate from water clouds on Earth, and most strikes occur near the equator. But on Jupiter, the strikes originate from clouds of ammonia and water, and occur most often near the planet’s poles.

The Juno spacecraft, which first arrived to observe Jupiter and its moons in 2016, captured the event during The thirty-first close flight of the gas giant on December 30, 2020. The mission was 19,900 miles (32,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops when the image was taken.

Using raw data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam instrument, citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill developed Final image in 2022.

I took the first pictures of Jupiter and its moons JunoCam is published online It is available for anyone to process.

The ongoing investigation of Juno will help scientists gain a greater understanding of the solar system’s largest planet and its defining characteristics.

Juno’s orbit around Jupiter is getting ever closer to the planet Over time, the spacecraft will pass more closely its night side in the coming months, providing more opportunities to spy lightning on the gas giant.

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“In addition to constantly changing our orbit to allow new perspectives on Jupiter and flying low over the planet’s night side, the spacecraft will also study the needle between some of Jupiter’s rings to learn more about their origin and formation,” said Matthew Johnson. , acting Juno mission project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in a statement.

Juno is equipped with multiple instruments that can perform detections under Jupiter’s thick cloud cover to gather data about the planet’s origins, atmosphere, and weather phenomena.

The spacecraft has performed more than 50 flybys of Jupiter and has made close passes of three of Jupiter’s largest moons, including the icy ocean worlds of Jupiter. Europa And Ganymedeand Io and The most volcanically active place in the solar system.

“Our upcoming flybys in July and October will bring us closer, leading to our double encounters with Io in December of this year and February of next year, when we fly within 1,500 kilometers of its surface,” said Scott Bolton, Juno. The principal investigator is from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, in a statement. “All of these flights provide stunning views of the volcanic activity of this amazing moon. The data should be amazing.”