Cyclones on Jupiter Resembling Polygons Have Astronomers Looking for Answers

Cyclones on Jupiter Resembling Polygons Have Astronomers Looking for Answers

Before and if humanity will ever get to understand how the Universe works at a deeper level, studying our own Solar System as much as possible is a ‘must.’ Jupiter continues to remain in the astronomers’ interest, and for good reasons. It’s the planet where huge storms the size of continents occur.

If the Great Red Spot from the biggest planet in the Solar System doesn’t amaze you, which is also the biggest storm in the Solar System itself, surely the polygon-shaped cyclones sweeping on the gas giant will make you curious. 

Huge cyclones on Jupiter keep their polygon shapes for years

According to the New York Post, scientists are wondering what’s the secret behind the cyclones’ ability to remain unchanged from their polygon shape as they sweep across Jupiter. The huge storms form at the poles of the gas giant, and they didn’t change their shapes since 2017, when they were first discovered by scientists.


The new study says:

Since 2017 the Juno spacecraft has observed a cyclone at the north pole of Jupiter surrounded by eight smaller cyclones arranged in a polygonal pattern,

It is not clear why this configuration is so stable or how it is maintained.

Scientists led by Andrew P. Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology have a theory that could explain the peculiar phenomenon. They’re betting on an anticyclonic ring located between the main cyclone and the smaller one, which is able to keep the clusters in their polygonal shapes. 

The Juno space probe belongs to NASA, it’s operated by the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and it was built by Lockheed Martin. Launched over a decade ago, in 2011, Juno has the mission to analyze Jupiter, such as the planet’s gravitational field, composition, polar magnetosphere, as well as magnetic field. 

The new study was published in Nature Astronomy.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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