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ALMA images show what’s happening beneath Jupiter’s storms

5 Sep 2019, 10:10 UTC
ALMA images show what’s happening beneath Jupiter’s storms
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Artists’ animation showing Jupiter in radio waves with ALMA and in visible light with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Via ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), I. de Pater et al.; NRAO/AUI NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/Hubble
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory published these new radio images of Jupiter on August 20, 2019. They’re made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in northern Chile. They show Jupiter’s atmosphere down to 30 miles (50 km) below the planet’s topmost, visible cloud deck, which is made up of ammonia ice. NRAO wrote:
Swirling clouds, big colorful belts, giant storms – the beautiful and turbulent atmosphere of Jupiter has been showcased many times. But what is going on below the clouds? What is causing the many storms and eruptions that we see on the ‘surface’ of the planet? To see this, visible light is not enough. We need to study Jupiter using radio waves.
Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley is lead author of the new radio study of Jupiter’s storms. Her team acquired the images with the ALMA telescope a few days after amateur astronomers spotted an eruption in Jupiter’s South Equatorial Belt in January 2017. According to NRAO:
A small bright white ...

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