Dive into Jupiter’s gas vortices in 3D

Swirling clouds. Since storms of crazy dimensions. Astronomers have already observed many of them on Jupiter. But the sight of the atmosphere of the largest planet in our solar system what Gerald Eichstädt offers us today, a mathematician from the University of Würzburg (Germany), is unpublished. A 3D animation that reveals a swirling texture that looks like the icing on a cupcake!

Jupiter: 3D images of the fascinating North Pole

The animation was created using data from JunoCam, an instrument aboard NASA’s Juno mission that observes Jupiter in visible light. The JunoCam was designed to give the public images of the planet that could make them dream. But citizen scientists have also believed in its ability to return data of interest to research.

To create their 3D animation of the clouds in Jupiter's atmosphere, the researchers relied on data returned by the Juno mission during its 43rd flyby more than 13,500 kilometers above the giant planet's clouds.  © NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstädt

To create their 3D animation of the clouds in Jupiter’s atmosphere, the researchers relied on data returned by the Juno mission during its 43rd flyby more than 13,500 kilometers above the giant planet’s clouds. © NASA, JPL-Caltech, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstädt

Better understand the chemical composition of Jupiter’s clouds

The Juno mission has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016. And it should continue to collect crucial information about the gas planet until 2025. Crucial because it offers the opportunity to observe Jupiter in a way no telescope can from Earth. In just a few minutes, for example, Juno can return images of the same cloud formation from different angles.

Adding to this the fact that the higher the clouds are in the planet’s atmosphere, the more intense their illumination by the Sun, the researchers were able to build 3D elevation models of Jupiter’s cloud tops. And almost giving life to the magnificent storms that shake its atmosphere. Which could help scientists study the details…

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