NASA’s Juno probe made an interesting discovery during a recent flyby as it spotted massive cyclones on Jupiter. During the flyby, the probe flew at a distance of 2,175 miles above the planet.
The event took place in November 2019 while the mission team was working on a trajectory change. An analysis of the current orbit showed that Juno would be carried into Jupiter’s giant shadow.
The consequences would have been quite dire if such an event took place since the probe is powered by solar energy absorbed with the help of solar panels.
While the team was working hard on a way that could allow the probe to conserve energy and keep the core components warm, a daring strategy was proposed: to jump over the shadow of the planet. When the other edge of the shadow was reached, a major discovery took place.
NASA’s Juno Probe Spotted Massive Cyclones On Jupiter
Juno arrived near Jupiter in July 2016 and observed a total of fifteen cyclones, with nine being present in the north while six roamed the southern zones Data collected within the timeframe allowed the researchers to analyze five windstorms who circled around a major cyclone and were spread in the shape of a pentagon.
During the latest flyby, the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) tool mounted on the probe detected the fact that the pentagon observed in the past has evolved into a hexagon. The new cyclone has a size on par with that of Texas but it is smaller than other cyclones.
Data sent by JIRAM infers that the new cyclone generates winds that reach an average speed of 225 miles per hour, a velocity that is similar to the one encountered in the case of other cyclones. A few images of the new cyclone were also recorded and are being processed.
These cyclones remain an important topic for many researchers since the mechanics behind their formation remain a mystery for now.