Research

Stabilizing Jupiter’s Polar Storms

This infrared image taken by the Juno spacecraft shows the octagon of eight cyclones at Jupiter's northern pole.

Four years ago, Juno discovered an octagon of eight cyclones at Jupiter’s northern pole and a similar five cyclone structure at its southern pole. Since then, both polygons have remained intact. What keeps the storm systems so stable is still an open question, but a recent observational study using Juno measurements found that an anticyclonic ring sits between the central and outer cyclones. In line with a previous theoretical study, this ring structure helps shield and stabilize the storm system.

The underlying convective mechanisms of the storm remain a mystery, though, as the current study is limited in resolution to a scale of about 200 kilometers. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM; research credit: A. Ingersoll et al.; via Gizmodo)

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