📰 Winds in Jupiter’s atmosphere

Winds blowing at the level of Jupiter’s cloud cover are measured by the movement of clouds. The most intense can reach speeds of 150 m/s. The mission Juice and his camera janus will measure the winds in the cloud cover with an accuracy of about 1 m/s during the 67 passes near Jupiter to study the atmospheric circulation (Atmospheric circulation is the planetary-scale movement of…). These observations will be used to validate climate models.


Polar lights on Jupiter photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope from the POT (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“Administration nationale de…) in 2016.
© NASA, ESA and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

Above the clouds is the stratosphere (The stratosphere is the second layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, located above…) of Jupiter. what regimen of vent (Wind is the movement of an atmosphere, a mass of gas located on the surface…) find there? Answering this question is not easy due to the absence of visible tracers, such as clouds, to measure winds. Until recently, only measurements of the temperature (Temperature is a physical quantity measured with a thermometer and…) in function of the latitude (Latitude is an angular value, an expression of the north-south positioning of a point on Earth…) and of thealtitude (Altitude is the vertical elevation of a place or object relative to a level…) could be used to infer east-west winds, applying the thermal wind relationship.

However, this technique has several limitations, including in particular the impossibility of inferring the winds at the equator. However, knowledge of the temperature and wind fields is essential to understanding the circulation (Road traffic (Anglicism: road traffic) is the movement of motor vehicles…) atmospheric and the heated (Climate is the statistical distribution of atmospheric conditions in a…) in the stratosphere. Also, the equatorial region is one of the most interesting regions of the stratosphere because the temperature oscillates around (Autour is the name given by the avian nomenclature in French (updated)…) a value of to mean (The average is a statistical measure that characterizes the elements of a set of…)both depending on the temperatures (Time is a concept developed by the human being to apprehend the…) and elevation. East oscillation (An oscillation is a periodic movement or fluctuation. Oscillations are in…) it has a period of about four years and is called the “quasi-four-year oscillation” (QQO). Such equatorial oscillations are observed on other planets, including Saturn and the Land (Earth is the third planet in the Solar System in order of distance…). The QQO suggests that the winds oscillate between winds from the east and winds from the east.West (West is a cardinal point, opposite east. That is the direction towards…) with the same term of about four years.

Observatories like ALMA (Atacama large millimeter/submillimeter array) now make it possible to measure the Jovian stratospheric winds at any latitude across theobservation (Observation is the action of attentively following phenomena, without the will to see them…) molecular emissions at very high spatial and spectral resolutions. The velocities are derived from the wind-induced Doppler shifts in the spectral lines. However, ALMA measurements are rare (only one since its commissioning in 2011) and therefore insufficient to study the QQO and build the large studies needed to understand the Jovian climate. the Submillimeter wave instrument of Juice it will produce stratospheric wind maps during each of its 67 orbits.

Finally, Jupiter is the planet (A planet is a celestial body that orbits the Sun or another star in…) where the most intense auroras of the Solar system (The solar system is a planetary system composed of a star, the…). These auroras occur several hundred kilometres (The meter (symbol m, from the Greek metron, measure) is the basic unit of length in the System…) above the clouds, in theionosphere (The ionosphere is a region of the atmosphere located between the mesosphere and the…). It is in these places that the strongest winds in theJupiter’s atmosphere (Jupiter’s atmosphere is the most important of the planets’ atmospheres…) have been detected. They are located in the main ovals of the aurora (that is, their edges) and blow at about 2 km/s. ALMA detected similar winds in Jupiter’s stratosphere, with speeds of 400 m/s. One of the goals of Juice It will be to understand if these winds and the ionospheric winds have a common origin.

Author:
Thibault Cavalie, seeker (A researcher (fem. researcher) refers to a person whose job it is to investigate…) CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research, better known by its acronym CNRS, is the largest…) in the laboratory ofastrophysics (Astrophysics (from the Greek astro = star and physiqui = physics) is a branch…) of Bordeaux (LAB) / OASU.

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