“Weather beasts in our solar system” – powerful stratospheric winds first measured on Jupiter

Stratospheric wind near the south pole of Jupiter

Atacama large millimeter / submillimeter array (Alma), Including the European Southern Observatory (E.S.O.) Is a partner, a team of astronomers measured the wind directly JupiterModerate atmosphere for the first time. Analyzing the aftermath of a comet’s collision since the 1990s, researchers revealed extremely powerful winds near Jupiter’s poles at speeds of up to 1450 kilometers per hour. They could represent what the team described as “unique meteorology in our solar system”.

Comet Schumacher - Levi 9 affects Jupiter in 1994

This image, taken with MPG / ESO 2.2-meter telescope and IRAC instrument, shows comet showmaker Levi affecting Jupiter on July 9, 1994. Credit: ESO

Jupiter is famous for its distinctive red and white bands: moving clouds of dynamic gas that astronomers traditionally use to track winds in Jupiter’s lower atmosphere. Astronomers have also observed, near the poles of Jupiter, a vivid glow called ivid roar, which seems to be associated with strong winds in the atmosphere above the planet. But so far, researchers have not been able to directly measure the wind pattern in the striped space zone between these two atmospheric layers.

Schumacher Levy 9 departs for Jupiter

Both photos from the ESO La Sila Observatory show the individual intermediate center of the comet Schumacher-Levi 9, which is now heading for a collision with Jupiter. Credit: E.S.O.

Due to the absence of clouds in this part of the atmosphere it is impossible to measure wind speeds in Jupiter’s remnants using cloud-tracking techniques. However, astronomers were assisted by an alternative measurement in the form of the comet Showmaker – Levy 9, which collided with a gas giant in spectacular fashion in 1994. This effect created new molecules in the Jupiter’s remnant realm, where they are ever moving with the wind. Since then.

A team of astronomers led by Thibault Cavalli of the French Laboratory de Strophysic de Bordeaux has now discovered one of these molecules – hydrogen cyanide – to measure a stratospheric “jet” on Jupiter. Scientists use the word “jet” to refer to narrow strips of wind in the atmosphere, similar to the Earth’s jet currents.

Stratospheric wind near the south pole of Jupiter

This image shows the artist’s impression of Jupiter’s remnant wind near the south pole of the planet, the blue lines that represent the speed of the wind. These lines are supervised on the actual image of Jupiter, taken by the Junochem imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft.
The famous bands of Jupiter’s clouds are located in the lower atmosphere, where the winds were measured earlier. But tracking the wind above this atmospheric level, in the Stratosphere, is very difficult because there are no clouds. By analyzing the aftermath of a comet collision since the 1990s and using the ALMA telescope, in which ESO is a partner, researchers have been able to detect extremely powerful stratospheric winds at speeds of up to 1450 kilometers per hour, near Jupiter’s poles.
Credit: ESO / L. Kaleda and NASA / JPL-Caltech / SRI / MSSS

“The most spectacular result is the presence of a strong jet, with speeds of up to 400 meters per second, located under the aurora near the poles,” says K. This wind speed, about 1450 kilometers per hour, is more than twice the maximum hurricane speed in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and three times the wind speed on Earth’s strongest tornado.

“Our findings suggest that this jet behaves like a giant vortex four times the diameter of Earth, and the altitude is about 900 kilometers,” said Bilal Benmahi, co-author of Lora Boretor de Astrophysics de Bordeaux. “A vortex of this size will be a unique weather animal in our solar system,” Cavalli added.

Jupiter in Infrared Light in August 2008

Awesome image of Jupiter on the night of 17 August 2008 with a Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) prototype instrument mounted on ESO’s very large telescope. This false color photo is a combination of a series of images taken over a period of about 20 minutes by three different filters (2, 2.14 and 2.16 microns). The image obtained is about 90 milli-arcseconds across the disk of the entire planet, which is an actual record on identical images taken from the ground. About 300 km above the surface of this huge planet. Suitable for viewing wide details. Being on the other side of the earth during observation the great red spot will not appear in this image. Observations were made at infrared wavelengths where absorption is strong due to hydrogen and methane. This explains why colors are so different from how we usually see Jupiter in view-light. This absorption means that light can only be reflected from the hazards of high-itude altitude, and not from deep clouds. These hazards lie in the very stable part of the tropical part of Jupiter, where the pressure is between 0.15 and 0.3. The mixture is weak in this stationary field, so small mist particles can live days to years depending on their size and the speed of fall. In addition, near the poles of the planet, higher stratospheric mist (light blue regions) is produced by interacting with particles trapped in Jupiter’s intense magnetic field.
Credit: ESO / F. Marchis, m. Wong, E. Marchetti, p. Amico, S. Tordordo

Astronomers were aware of strong winds near Jupiter’s poles, but at a much higher altitude in the atmosphere, hundreds of kilometers above the new study’s focal point, which is published in the journal Today Astronomy and Astrophysics. Previous studies had predicted that this would reduce the wind velocity of the upper atmosphere and disappear well before reaching the level of depth. “The new Alma data tells us the opposite,” said K, adding that finding this strong-striped wind near Jupiter’s pole was a “real surprise”.

This video shows an artist’s animation of the wind in the remnants of Jupiter near the Earth’s south pole, with blue lines representing the speed of the wind. These lines are superimposed on the actual image of Jupiter, taken by the Junochem imager on the ship. NASAOld spacecraft. Credit: ESO / L. Kaleda and NASA /JPL-Caltech / SRRI / MSSS

The team used૨ from ALMA’s high 66 high-precision antenna, located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, to analyze the hydrogen cyanide molecules orbiting Jupiter’s remnants under the influence of Schumacher-Levi the. ALMA data allowed them to measure the Doppler shift – small changes in the frequency of radiation emitted by molecules caused by wind in this region of the planet. “By measuring this shift, we can reduce the wind speed so much that one can cut the speed of a passing train by changing the frequency of the train’s whistle,” explains Vincent Hugh, author of the scientific study of planets. U.S. At the Southwest Research Institute.

In addition to the surprisingly polar winds, the team also used ALMA for the first time to confirm the existence of strong belt winds around the Earth’s equator. The average speed of a jet seen in this part of the planet is 600 kilometers per hour.

The ALMA observations required to track stratospheric winds at both the poles of Jupiter and the equator took less than 30 minutes of telescope time. U.S. “The fact that we’ve achieved so much detail in such a short time really demonstrates the power of ALMA observations,” says Thomas Greathouse, a scientist and co-author of the study at the Southwest Research Institute in New York. “I’m surprised to see the first direct measurement of this wind.”

This animation of Jupiter is made from real images taken with NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Comet Schumacher – Levi 9 fragments of impact sites that hit Jupiter in 1994 appear dark brown in the southern hemisphere of the planet. Credit: ESO / M. Cornmeaser, NASA / ESA

“These alma results open a new window for the study of Jupiter’s oral regions, which was really unexpected a few months ago,” says K. Referring to the European Space Agency’s Jupiter ICC Lunar Explorer, which is expected to enter space next year, the Great House adds that “they also set the stage for the same more comprehensive measurements by the Juice mission and its sublimemeter wave instrument.”

ESO’s ground-based Extreme Large Telescope (ELT), which is set to see the first light later this decade, will also explore Jupiter. The telescope will be able to make more detailed observations about the planet’s aurora, which gives us a better understanding of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

More info

Reference: t. K, b. Benmahi, V. Hugh, R. Moreno, e. Leloch, t. Fouchett, p. Hartog, L. By Rezak, “The first direct measurement of the annual and equatorial jets in Jupiter’s relic.” TK Greathouse, G.R. Gladstone, J.A. Sinclair, m. Dobrijevic, F. Bilbudd and c. Jarco, March 18, 2021, Astronomy and Astrophysics.
DOI: 10.1051 / 0004-6361 / 202140330

T, T. Made of Cavalli (Laboratory d’strophysic de Bordeaux). [LAB], France, and Lacia, serv bzrtoir de Paris, PSL Research University [LESIA], France), b. Benmahi (LAB), V. Hugh (Southwest Research Institute) [SwRI], USA), r. Moreno (Lesia), e. Lelloch (Lesia), t. Fochet (Lacia), p. Hartog (Max-Planck-Institute for Sonsystemforschang) [MPS], Germany), l. Rezak (MPS), T.K. Great House (SRRI), G.R. Gladstone (tone), J.A. Sinclair (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, USA), m. Dobrijevic (LAB), f. ) And c. Jarco (MPS).

ESO is the leading intergovernmental astronomical organization in Europe and the world’s most productive land-based astronomical observation. It has 16 member countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Australia with Australia. ESO runs an ambitious program focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observation facilities, enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organizing cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class monitoring sites in Chile: La Sila, Paranal and Chajantor. At Paranal, ESO manages this Very large telescope And its world-leading very large telescope interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, the VISTA working in infrared and the visible-light VLT survey telescope. Also at Paranal, the ESO Cherenkov Telescope Array South will host and operate the world’s largest and most sensitive gamma-ray observatory. ESO Chagentor, Apex and ALMA, are also major partners in two features on the largest astronomy project in existence. And on the Cerro Armazones near Paranal, ESO is building a 39-meter Extremely Large Telescope, ELT, which will become “the world’s largest look at the sky.”

Italy, Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA), International Astronomical Facility, ISO, U.S. Is a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Natural Sciences (NINS) in Japan. ALMA is funded by EINO on behalf of its member countries, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and in collaboration with Academia Sinika (AS) in Taiwan. And the Korea Institute of Astronomy and Space Science (KASI). ALMA construction and operations are managed by the ESO on behalf of its member countries; Associated Universities on behalf of North America, Inc. By the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) operated by (AUI); And by the National Astronomical Observatory (NAOJ) of Japan on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides integrated leadership and management of ALMA’s construction, operations, and operations.