According to two new studies, the Jupiter’s lightning storms are occurring more often that priorly estimated and they are much more similar to lightning storms on Earth than scientists believed before. The first observations of lightning on Jupiter were made in the 70s, more specifically, in 1979 when Voyager 1 caught some low-frequency radio waves coming from Jupiter, as Space.com reported.
These radio waves Voyager detected were due to the electrical currents within lightings that generate the so-called “sferics” (broad array of radio signals).
Since then, NASA’s Galileo and Cassini, which whizzed near Jupiter on its way to Saturn, validated the initial theories that lightning on Jupiter occurs.
To learn more about the Jupiter’s lightning storms and how they form and behave in the solar system’s giant gaseous planet, the researchers have recently decided to gather all the data on storms on Jupiter sent by NASA’s Juno probe which is still circling around the giant planet.
Lightning on Jupiter are pretty much alike lightning storms on Earth
In accordance with Juno’s readings, the scientists were able to calculate about 1,600 lightning events in Jupiter’s atmosphere, by about 10 times more than the previous estimates made in conformity with the Voyager’s readings. Even more, the NASA’s Juno’s readings showed that the intensity of lightning on Jupiter is by about 6 times higher than that estimated by Voyager in 1979.
Above all these, the most surprising discovery was that the Jupiter lightning storms are pretty much the same with the thunderstorms we can observe on Earth.
“Lightning on Jupiter can be as frequent as on Earth,” stated Ivana Kolmasova from the Czech Academy of Sciences and the leading author of one of the recent studies.
Also, the second study on thunderstorms of Jupiter confirms the findings of the first one.
“Given the very pronounced differences in the atmospheres between Jupiter and Earth,” said William Kurth, the leading author of the second study, the similarities between lightning on Jupiter and the lightning storms on Earth are stunning.