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Click here for Linda Moulton Howe's 2017 Bio.

Part 1: Lots of 2017 Surprises On Jupiter

© 2017 by Linda Moulton Howe


“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves. ...There is so much
going on here that we didn’t expect that we have had to take a step back
and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”

- Scott Bolton, Ph.D., Juno Principal Investigator,
Southwest Research Inst., San Antonio, TX


NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter and blue aurora at the massive gas
planet's poles. Jupiter is composed primarily of gaseous and liquid matter and is the largest
planet in our solar system with a diameter of 88,846 miles (142,984 km) at its equator, which is
eleven times the size of Earth's equatorial diameter of 7,917.5 miles (12,756 km).
Credit: 2016 NASA, ESA, J. Nichols, Univ. of Leicester.

Above is Jupiter’s extraordinary north pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude
of 32,000 miles (52,000 km). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 km) in diameter.
Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to
show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection. 052517 Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles.

This is a polar stereographic projection that shows the south pole in the center of the map
and the equator at the edge. It was constructed from images taken by the Cassini spacecraft on
December 11 and 12, 2000, as Cassini neared Jupiter during a flyby on its way to Saturn. Colorful
cloud features include parallel reddish-brown and white bands, the Great Red Spot, multi-lobed
chaotic regions, white ovals and many small vortices. Many clouds appear in streaks and
waves due to continual stretching and folding by Jupiter's winds and turbulence.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.


May 28, 2017 Albuquerque, New Mexico - Jupiter is the largest and most massive planet in our solar system. NASA's Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. The findings from the first data-collection pass, which flew within about 2,600 miles (4,200 km) of Jupiter's swirling cloud tops on Aug. 27, 2016, were published May 26, 2017, in the journal Science, as well as 44 more papers in Geophysical Research Letters.

“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “But now that we are here we are finding that Jupiter can throw the heat, as well as knuckleballs and sliders. There is so much going on here that we didn’t expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”


Jupiter Surprises

. Earth-sized swirling storms at poles and poles don't look the same. Auroral lights shine in both polar regions.

. Band of ammonia rises in Jupiter's equator from at least 200 miles down
and “is the most startling feature that was brand new and unexpected.”

. Jupiter has a “fuzzy core,” that is different than a typical rocky core or a hydrogen core and is bigger than expected.

. Jupiter's magnetic field is much stronger and more complex than expected. On Earth, our magnetic field is generated by rotating electrically charged liquid iron around the center iron core. Jupiter's magnetic currents come from hydrogen, which is under such crushing pressures that on Jupiter it turns into metallic fluid.

. Unlike Earth where charged solar particles stream from the sun and interact with our magnetic fields, Jupiter has charged electrons that are coming out of the massive planet into space.

. A Juno instrument collecting data about microwave emissions in the striped cloud patterns around Jupiter "does not reflect what is seen in the clouds?" Are the cloud bands around Jupiter very thin? Or is the microwave instrument not sensitive enough

NASA: “Among the findings that challenge assumptions are those provided by Juno’s imager, JunoCam.

Jupiter Poles — Look So Different, But Both Covered with Storms

The images show both of Jupiter's poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together.”

“We're puzzled as to how they could be formed, how stable the configuration is, and why Jupiter’s north pole doesn't look like the south pole,” said Scott Bolton, Ph.D., Juno Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “We're questioning whether this is a dynamic system, and are we seeing just one stage, and over the next year, we're going to watch it disappear, or is this a stable configuration and these storms are circulating around one another?”


Jupiter's Core — Bigger Than Expected and “Fuzzy”

Diagram of Jupiter’s possible interior structure based on NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting
Juno spacecraft. Juno’s gravity data suggest, for example, that Jupiter may have a
surprisingly large, partially dissolved core of metallic hydrogen around an icy, rocky core.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI.

Jupiter's deep interior appears to be as strange and otherworldly as the gas giant's storm-studded exterior, new observations by NASA's Juno spacecraft suggest.
Scientists have generally thought that Jupiter either harbors a relatively compact core 1 to 10 times as massive as Earth or no core at all, said Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton, who's based at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

But neither of these hypotheses fits with the gravity data collected so far by Juno, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July 2016.

"There seems to be a fuzzy core, and it may be much larger than anybody had anticipated," Bolton said during a May 25, 2017, NASA press conference announcing the first detailed science results from Juno's mission.

This core may even be partially dissolved, Bolton said, adding that Juno's initial observations are also consistent with "some deep motions or zonal winds" occurring far beneath the enormous planet's cloud tops.


Jupiter's Ammonia Band — Rises from At Least 200 Miles Down At Equator

Another surprise comes from Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR), which samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter’s atmosphere, from the top of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere. The MWR data indicates that Jupiter’s iconic belts and zones are mysterious, with the belt near the equator penetrating all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures. The data suggest the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred miles or kilometers.


Jupiter's Magnetic Field — Strongest in Solar System

Prior to the Juno mission, it was known that Jupiter had the most intense magnetic field in the solar system. Measurements of the massive planet’s magnetosphere, from Juno’s magnetometer investigation (MAG), indicate that Jupiter’s magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape. MAG data indicates the magnetic field greatly exceeded expectations at 7.766 Gauss, about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth.

“Juno is giving us a view of the magnetic field close to Jupiter that we’ve never had before,” said Jack Connerney, Juno deputy principal investigator and the lead for the mission’s magnetic field investigation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Already we see that the magnetic field looks lumpy: it is stronger in some places and weaker in others. This uneven distribution suggests that the field might be generated by dynamo action closer to the surface, above the layer of metallic hydrogen. Every flyby we execute gets us closer to determining where and how Jupiter’s dynamo works.”

Juno also is designed to study the polar magnetosphere and the origin of Jupiter's powerful auroras — its northern and southern lights. These auroral emissions are caused by particles that pick up energy, slamming into atmospheric molecules. Juno’s initial observations of charged electrons coming out of the planet into space is the opposite of solar radiation flowing into Earth's magnetic fields from the sun.

Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, and the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the gas giant. But, once every 53 days, its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a two-hour transit (from pole to pole) flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam public outreach camera snapping pictures. The download of six megabytes of data collected during the transit can take 1.5 days.

“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Bolton. “On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system — one that every school kid knows — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”

Continued in Part 2: Ingo Swann's Remarkable Controlled Remote Viewing of Jupiter on April 27, 1973.


Also see:

• 01/27/2017 — Search Ongoing for 9th Planet, So Massive It Tilts Solar System Planets 6 Degrees
• 09/22/2016 — Is There Life in Europa's Huge Ocean?
• 01/29/2016 — Gravitational Evidence of 9th Planet 10 Times the Mass of Earth!
• 12/18/2015 — Spectroscopy of White Spots on Ceres “Probably” Magnesium Sulfate — So Is There “Briny Water-Ice” Underground?

For further information about Jupiter and our solar system, please see reports in the Earthfiles Archive organized in chronological order from 1999 to 2016 ongoing of which a few are listed here.

• 01/27/2017 — Search Ongoing for 9th Planet, So Massive It Tilts Solar System Planets 6 Degrees
• 09/30/2016 — Part 1: Searching for Other Life and Dark Matter in This Universe
• 09/22/2016 — Is There Life in Europa's Huge Ocean?
• 01/29/2016 — Gravitational Evidence of 9th Planet 10 Times the Mass of Earth!
• 12/18/2015 — Spectroscopy of White Spots on Ceres “Probably” Magnesium Sulfate — So Is There “Briny Water-Ice” Underground?
• 09/03/2015 — Part 1: Where Are New Images of “Bright Spots” On Ceres from Lower 900-Mile-Orbit?
• 03/27/2015 — What Are the Bright Spots and Hexagonal Craters On Mysterious Ceres?
• 03/18/2015 — Persistent Dust Cloud and December 2014 Aurora On Mars Still Mysteries
• 07/26/2013 — Comet ISON - First Visit to Solar System
• 03/01/2013 — Strange Martian Moon Phobos - Could Its Dust Have Evidence of Life?
• 08/26/2010 — Where Did Our Moon Come From?
• 08/20/2010 — Part 6: Is Time Travel Past and Future Possible?
• 11/02/2009 — Updated: Is There Life in Europa's Huge Ocean?
• 07/12/2007 — First Water Confirmed in Extrasolar Planet's Atmosphere
• 03/30/2007 — Fastest Orbiting Object in Our Solar System is One of Strangest


"Jupiter's Interior and Deep Atmosphere: The Initial Pole-to-Pole Passes with the Juno Spacecraft," May 26, 2017, Science AAAS Journal:

NASA Juno Website:

Extreme Jupiter Weather and Magnetic Field, May 25, 2017, ScienceDaily:

Hubble Captures Vivid Auroras in Jupiter's Atmosphere, June 30, 2016, NASA:


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