NASA extends Juno mission by 3 years

Surprise! Jupiter's Lightning Looks a Lot Like Earth's

Surprise! Jupiter's Lightning Looks a Lot Like Earth's

That encounter confirmed the existence of the lightning, which had been theorized for years.

We've known that Jupiter has lightning for almost 40 years, after the first probes went out there. In spite of the fact that, in some ways, the two kinds of lightning are polar opposites.

NASA's Juno spacecraft has made an astonishing discovery about Jupiter's lightning strikes: They're similar to Earth's.

The mystery remained unsolved for nearly 40 years because every spacecraft that flew by Jupiter during this period - Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini - recorded radio waves that didn't match those produced by lightning on Earth. But Jupiter gets most of its energy from inside itself, with the Sun contributing one 25th as much energy than on Earth due to the giant planet's great distance.

Previous recordings of Jupiter's lightning, dubbed whistlers thanks to their characteristic whistle-like sound, all seemed to fall in the kilohertz range of the radio spectrum. It records emissions coming from Jupiter and reads it across a wide spectrum of frequencies.

Lightning on Jupiter is believed to originate from electrical interactions between water droplets and ice particles, similar to how lightning happens on Earth.

Brown revealed that, during Juno's first eight flybys of Jupiter, the spacecraft's Microwave Radiometer instrument picked up 377 lightning blasts, which "were recorded in the megahertz as well as gigahertz range" - the same as "what you can find with terrestrial lightning emissions".


Recently the NASA's Juno mission scientists establish a resemblance between the Jupiter's storm and the one that occurs on the Earth.

"Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth", said Brown. "You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics-this doesn't hold true for our planet", Mr Brown added.

Scientists have known for decades that lightning slashes through the skies of gas giant Jupiter just as it does on Earth.

The overwhelming majority of heat on Earth comes from the Sun.

An external source of the heat on Earth is attributed to incoming solar radiation and the maximum heat is caught by the Equator, thereby through the process of the convention, the warm air rises more easily, spurring thunderstorms in more numbers than all other places on earth, that create the bolts of lightning. It brought to light many new facts associated with the huge gas world including- the red spot's depth, the 3D imagery of gas underneath the surface of the planet, and the functionality of Jupiter's auroras. It stabilises the planet's upper atmosphere, preventing warm flows from rising from below. But another question looms. "Even though we see lightning near both poles, why is it mostly recorded at Jupiter's north pole?"

In the Nature Astronomy paper, a research team led by Dr. Ivana Kolmašová of the Czech Academy of Sciences presents the largest database of lightning-generated "whistlers" (low-frequency radio emissions) around Jupiter to date. These signals have been collected by Juno's Waves instrument, is nearly 10 times more than the number collected by the shuttler Voyager 1. In another paper related to the findings from Juno, the researchers noted that the spacecraft's Waves instrument detected six times more lightning than Voyager, with as many as four lightning strikes per second, just like the rate observed on Earth.

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