December 6, 2021

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Researchers get ‘fortunate’ image of Jupiter

Researchers get ‘fortunate’ image of Jupiter
Image copyright Gemini Observatory/M.H.Wong et al Image caption It took hundreds of exposures to build this sharp image mosaic of Jupiter in the infrared Astronomers have produced a remarkable new image of Jupiter, tracing the glowing regions of warmth that lurk beneath the gas giant's cloud tops.The picture was captured in infared by the Gemini…

Jupiter

Image copyright
Gemini Observatory/M. H.Wong et al

Image caption

It took hundreds of exposures to build this sharp image mosaic of Jupiter in the infrared.

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Astronomers have produced an exceptional brand-new picture of Jupiter, tracing the radiant regions of heat that prowl beneath the gas giant’s cloud tops.

The picture was caught in infared by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii, and is among the sharpest observations of the planet ever made from the ground.

To accomplish the resolution, scientists utilized a strategy called “fortunate imaging” which scrubs out the blurring effect of browsing Earth’s turbulent environment.

This method includes getting numerous direct exposures of the target and just keeping those segments of an image where that turbulence is at a minimum.

When all the “fortunate shots” are assembled in a mosaic, a clarity emerges that’s beyond simply the single exposure.

Infrared is a longer wavelength than the more familiar noticeable light found by the likes of the Hubble telescope. It is utilized to see past the haze and thin clouds at the top of Jupiter’s environment, to give researchers the chance to probe deeper into the planet’s internal workings.

Researchers wish to understand much better what makes and sustains the gas giant’s weather condition systems, and in specific the terrific storms that can rave for years and even centuries.

The study that produced this infrared image was led from the University of California at Berkeley. It belonged to a joint programme of observations that included Hubble and the Juno spacecraft that’s presently orbiting the 5th planet from the Sun.

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Fa st realities about Jupiter

  • Jupiter is 11 times larger than Earth and 300 times more massive
  • It takes 12 Earth years to orbit the Sun; a ‘day’ is 10 hours long
  • In composition it resembles a star; it’s primarily hydrogen and helium
  • Under pressure, the hydrogen assumes a state similar to a metal
  • This ‘metal hydrogen’ might be the source of the electromagnetic field
  • Most of the noticeable cloudtops consist of ammonia and hydrogen sulphide
  • Jupiter’s low-latitude ‘bands’ play host to extremely strong east-west winds
  • The Great Red Spot is a huge storm vortex broader than Planet Earth

Jupiter

Image copyright
NASA/ESA/A. Simon

Image caption

Jupiter as seen in noticeable wavelengths of light by Hubble.

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Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

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