NASA Juno Locates Huge Cyclone On Jupiter’s South Pole


Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, is home to a large number of vortex systems. NASA has just discovered a cluster of cyclones near the poles of the large planet. Plus, astronomers have found a new cyclone near Jupiter's South Pole, thanks to NASA's Juno spacecraft. The space agency shared the cyclone discovery on its official Twitter handle.

NASA Juno Locates Huge Cyclone On Jupiter’s South Pole


Juno Discovers New Cyclone On Jupiter

Apart from the Great Red Spot on the planet, Jupiter is home to a lot of galactic activities. The Juno spacecraft had found the Jovian tempest on November 3, during its 22nd flyby of Jupiter. So far, Juno has discovered nine cyclones in the North and five in the South near the poles since 2016. The six cyclone system near the South Pole was thought to be stable.

Astronomers had earlier observed five vortexes in a pentagonal pattern around the sixth central vortex. Hence, they concluded that the cyclonic system wouldn't allow another one to join. Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator explains "it almost appeared like the polar cyclones were part of a private club that seemed to resist new members."

However, the latest discovery is here and Juno has found a new cyclone near the South Pole, as it almost froze up. The observation was made only because scientists were forced to change the spacecraft's orbit around Jupiter.

Juno Spacecraft Path Course Changed

NASA's Juno spacecraft has been one of the most important ones to study and observe the largest planet. The spacecraft is a solar-powered one and functions on the light from the Sun. However, during its most recent flyby, Juno was in danger as it was about to enter Jupiter's shadow. "No sunlight means no power, so there was a real risk we might freeze to death," Bolton said.


Hence, Juno was made to change course to avoid an early demise and to get some sunshine. Similar to the Opportunity rover on Mars, Juno was made to jump Jupiter's shadow. Once on the other side, Juno spotted the new vortex storm near the South Pole, another discovery, just by chance.

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