JUN 21, 2016 10:47 AM PDT

Astronomers Look Into Jupiter's Clouds With a Radio Telescope

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Jupiter has long been a mystery. We know it’s a massive gassy planet, but lots of astronomers believe that deep down in the clouds we’ll found a solid rocky core.
 
An upcoming mission dubbed Juno is expected to reach Jupiter in July so we can learn more about the massive gaseous planet, but astronomers have reportedly already started decoding Jupiter from right here on Earth with a radio telescope.
 
Peering through the planet’s cloudy surfaces, the astronomers note their findings in the journal Science.
 

Peering through Jupiter's surface with a radio telescope array has given a team of astronomers a more detailed view of what to expect.

Image Credit: AAAS/SCIENCE

Using the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope system on Earth, scientists were able to study the layers of Jupiter immediately under the initial surface of the planet’s atmosphere as deep as 100 kiliometers below the planet's initial atmospheric surface, something we couldn’t do until now. Among the things they found there were traces of ammonia.

"What really excites me is just the level of detail we see. In our maps you can see different zones, turbulent features, vortices - even the Great Red Spot,” University of California, Berkeley’s Michael Wong told the BBC in a statement. “This has all been made possible by an upgrade to the VLA and a new technique developed by one of our co-workers.”

The following video was pushed on the University's YouTube channel to show off the results:
 


By tracking the glow of ammonia from the images taken with the VLA system, scientists were able to gather information and predict models for the movement of the planet’s gasses and help to better understand its composition and environment.

Additionally, the team was even able to gather atmospheric pressures and temperatures with this model, providing even more detail than they've ever been able to accomplish with any Earth-based technology to date.
 
Despite the fact that NASA’s Juno spacecraft will be arriving at the planet this Independence Day (July 4th), we were able to get a preliminary view of Jupiter’s atmosphere with this radio telescope array prior to its arrival, giving us somewhat of an idea of what to expect so more time can be spent studying other things.

Source: BBC, Astronomy Now

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 17, 2019
Hayabusa-2 Departs Ryugu Asteroid to Return to Earth with Samples
It’s been just over a year since JAXA’s renowned Hayabusa-2 mission arrived at asteroid 162173 Ryugu to study the dynamics of the distant space...
DEC 01, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 01, 2019
Jupiter's Great Red Spot May Not Be Dying After All
Most people recognize Jupiter as the largest known planet in our solar system, but there’s another eccentric quality about the planet that helps it s...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
How Close is SpaceX to Sending Humans to Space?
NASA is one of the world’s most capable space agencies, but a crippling budget prevents it from developing a new space vehicle of its own. Instead, N...
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Do Nebulae Actually Look This Impressive?
Astronomers often turn to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope when they fancy observing any of the plethora of distant nebulae in outer space. Nebulae are...
JAN 20, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 20, 2020
Oldest Materials on Earth - They Predate Our Solar System
In 1969, a meteorite crashed through the sky and landed near the small town of Murchison, Australia. Had shattered into many fragments after its dramatic l...
FEB 25, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 25, 2020
What Would Happen if We Sent a Spacecraft Into the Sun?
In 2018, NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe to get its closest look at the Sun yet. The probe gets as close as about 6.2 million kilometers from the Sun&...
Loading Comments...