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2017-05-25. NASA’s Jupiter Mission Reveals the ‘Brand-New and Unexpected’.

posted May 28, 2017, 10:07 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated May 28, 2017, 10:07 PM ]

By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times. For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: The top and bottom of Jupiter are pockmarked with a chaotic mélange of swirls that are immense storms hundreds of miles across. The planet’s interior core appears bigger than expected, and swirling electric currents are generating surprisingly strong magnetic fields. Auroral lights shining in Jupiter’s polar regions seem to operate in a reverse way to those on Earth. And a belt of ammonia may be rising around the planet’s equator. Those are some early findings of scientists working on NASA’s Juno mission, an orbiter that arrived at Jupiter last July. Juno takes 53 days to loop around Jupiter in a highly elliptical orbit, but most of the data gathering occurs in two-hour bursts when it accelerates to 129,000 miles an hour and dives to within about 2,600 miles of the cloud tops. The spacecraft’s instruments peer far beneath, giving glimpses of the inside of the planet, the solar system’s largest. ...Planetary scientists had wondered whether Jupiter would have a giant hexagonal pattern like that spotted on Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. ...In contrast to the chaotic weather patterns at Jupiter’s poles, a stable hexagonal pattern covers Saturn’s north pole. ...  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/25/science/nasa-juno-spacecraft-jupiter-storms.html