Turbulent Jupiter

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brian livesey
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Turbulent Jupiter

Post by brian livesey »

Gauging wind speeds in Jupiter’s stratosphere hasn’t been possible until now because there are no clouds in it to track for speed. Now, astrophysicists using the Atacama Large millimetre/submillimetre Array ( Alma ) at the European Southern Observatory ( ESO ) in Chile, have used a technique that allows them to measure Jovian stratospheric wind velocities.
The technique was made possible thanks to a comet that struck Jupiter in 1994. The comet burned up and released hydrogen cyanide molecules into the atmosphere. By tracking them researchers led by Professor Thibault Cavalie have discovered strong jets of almost 900mph winds, located at Jupiter’s poles. That’s twice the speed of storms in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
“Our detection indicates that the jets could behave like a giant vortex with a diameter up to four times the diameter of the Earth, and some 900km in height,” said Bilal Benmahi, co-author of the research at the University of Bordeaux University. Dr. Cavalie added: A vortex of this size would be a unique meteorological beast in our solar system.” Astrophysicists have been aware of very strong winds at Jupiter’s poles, but at different atmospheric levels.
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