Juno flyby reveals stunning new images of Jupiter, the sounds of its moon Ganymede

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

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(CNN) – The largest planet in our solar system increasingly looks like a work of art. It’s full of surprises – and so are its moons.

NASA’s Juno mission, which began orbiting Jupiter in July 2016, recently completed its 38th close-up flight over the gas giant. The mission was extended earlier this year, adding a flyby of Jupiter Ganymede’s moon in June.

The data and images from those flyovers rewrite everything we know about Jupiter, Scott Bolton, senior Juno researcher at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a briefing at the American fall meeting. Geophysical Union in New Orleans Friday.

There, Bolton revealed 50 seconds of his created when Juno flew over Ganymede over the summer. The moon audio clip was created by electric and magnetic radio waves produced by the planet’s magnetic field and picked up by the spacecraft’s Waves instrument, designed to detect these waves. The sounds are like a trippy space age soundtrack.

“This soundtrack is just wild enough to make you feel like you’re riding as Juno walks past Ganymede for the first time in over two decades,” Bolton said. “If you listen closely, you can hear the sudden change to higher frequencies around the middle of the recording, which represents entering a different region of Ganymede’s magnetosphere.”

The Juno team continues to analyze data from the Ganymede flyby. At the time, Juno was about 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) from the surface of the moon and was spinning at 41,600 mph (67,000 kilometers per hour).

“It is possible that the change in frequency shortly after the closest approach was due to the shift from the night side to the day side of Ganymede,” said William Kurth, co-principal investigator of the Waves instrument, based at the University of Iowa in Iowa. City, in a press release.

The team also shared stunning new images that resemble artistic views of Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere.

“You can see how amazingly beautiful Jupiter is,” Bolton said. “It’s really an artist’s palette. It’s almost like a Van Gogh painting. You see these amazing vortices and swirling clouds in different colors.”

These visually stunning images serve to help scientists better understand Jupiter and its many mysteries. Images of cyclones at Jupiter’s poles intrigued Lia Siegelman, a scientist working with the Juno team who typically studies Earth’s oceans. She saw similarities between Jupiter’s atmospheric dynamics and eddies in Earth’s oceans.

“When I saw the richness of the turbulence around the Jovian cyclones, with all the filaments and the little eddies, it reminded me of the turbulence you see in the ocean around the eddies,” said Siegelman, physical oceanographer and postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in a statement.

“These are particularly evident in high-resolution satellite images of eddies in Earth’s oceans that are revealed by plankton blooms that act as flow tracers.”

Mapping of Jupiter’s magnetic field

Data from Juno is also helping scientists map Jupiter’s magnetic field, including the Great Blue Spot. This region is a magnetic anomaly located at Jupiter’s equator – not to be confused with the Great Red Spot, an age-old atmospheric storm south of the equator.

Since Juno’s arrival in Jupiter, the team has witnessed a change in Jupiter’s magnetic field. The big blue spot is moving east at about 5.1 centimeters (2 inches) per second and will circle the planet in 350 years.

Meanwhile, the Great Red Spot is moving west and will cross that finish line much faster, in about 4.5 years.

But the Great Blue Spot is torn apart by Jupiter’s jet streams, giving it a striped appearance. This visual pattern tells scientists that these winds extend much deeper into the gaseous interior of the planet.

Jupiter’s magnetic field map, generated by the Juno data, also revealed that the planet’s dynamo action, which creates the magnetic field inside Jupiter, comes from metallic hydrogen under a layer of “rain. helium ”.

Juno was also able to take a look at the very faint dust ring around Jupiter from inside the ring. This dust is actually created by two of the small moons on the planet, Metis and Adrastea. The observations allowed the researchers to see part of the constellation Perseus from a different planetary angle.

“It is breathtaking that we can contemplate these familiar constellations from a spacecraft half a billion kilometers away,” said Heidi Becker, co-principal investigator of the Stellar Reference Unit instrument. de Juno at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement. .

“But it all looks pretty much the same as when we enjoy them from our backyards here on Earth. It’s an awesome reminder of how small we are and how much there is yet to explore.”

In the fall of 2022, Jupiter will fly over Jupiter’s moon Europa, which will be visited by its own mission, the Europa Clipper, which is scheduled to launch in 2024. Europa is puzzling scientists because a global ocean lies beneath its ice shell . Sometimes plumes eject from holes in the ice in space. Europa Clipper could investigate this ocean by ‘tasting’ and flying through the plumes – and find out if life is possible on this ocean world.

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