The illustration of amazing phenomenon taking place in Jupiter’s atmosphere.
NASA’s Juno probe has captured stunning images of the electrical discharge occurring in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Jellyfish-shaped electrical beams called “sprite” and glowing ball “elf” also appear high above Earth’s atmosphere, each time lightning storms form. Science first recorded strange phenomena in 1989, and experts predict other lightning-bearing planets, such as Jupiter, sprite, and elf.
Photos taken from Juno are the first evidence that two amazing phenomena have occurred on other planets. Juno has been collecting Jupiter data since 2016, and just recently, the Juno project team discovered something strange in the data sent back.
Red sprite captured from ISS International Space Station in 2015.
“During the stitching process, we found that the team encountered a lot of bright spots that appeared in a short period of time and surprised the team.”Said Rohini Giles, a researcher with the Juno team.
“Then we looked at all the mouse data for the past four years, and found that a total of 11 glowing spots, all with similar properties.“, Ms. Giles added about unexpected highlights that last for only a few milliseconds. They published the new study in the journal Geophysical Research: Planets.
In Earth’s atmosphere, sprite appears as long red electric lines, sometimes escaping from dissolving halos. They are usually generated when lightning magnetic power creates areas with properties that closely resemble electromagnetic fields. Sometimes, lightning causes the electromagnetic circuit to run back upwards, creating glowing disk spots that are elves.
“On Earth, sprite and elf are red because they interact with nitro present in the atmosphere. But in Jupiter, where the upper part of the atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, the color of these phenomena is either blue, or pink.”Said Professor Giles.
Juno was unable to confirm whether the series of phenomena occurred due to lightning strikes, because at the time the ship made observations, the lightning tracker was symmetrical with the UV imaging unit.
However, all the data obtained show that all 11 light trails are flashy discharges: they emit a lot of hydrogen, last only a few milliseconds and occur at altitude of 300. km above Saturn’s aquifer – too high for lightning to form.
“We’ll keep looking for signs of elves and sprite every time Juno flies past”Mrs. Giles said. “Now that you know what to look for, it will be easier to observe Jupiter and other planets. And comparing the sprite and elves from Jupiter with what happens on Earth will help us understand more about the electromagnetic activity in the planets’ atmospheres.“.
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