Lightning Strikes on Jupiter Differ From Ours in One Way

An artist's impression of the lightning storms on Jupiter. Pic NASA  JPL

An artist's impression of the lightning storms on Jupiter. Pic NASA JPL

"Given the very pronounced differences in the atmospheres between Jupiter and Earth, one might say the similarities we see in their thunderstorms are rather astounding", Kurth tells Choi.

"They were recorded in the megahertz as well as gigahertz range, which is what you can find with terrestrial lightning emissions", said Brown.

If it had achieved its intended 14-day orbit, Juno would have had time to carry out all of its primary science experiments, but the 53-day orbit at a distance of between 3,000 mi (5,000 km) and five million mi (eight million km) of the cloud tops meant that it spends much more time in the outer Jovian system than planned, and subsequently has less time for observations.

Brown explained how all the previous probes - Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo and even Cassini recorded lightning signals, but they were, "limited to either visual detections or from the kilohertz range of the radio spectrum, despite a search for signals in the megahertz range". NASA's Juno spacecraft has found Jovian lightning produces the same sort of radio emissions as those on Earth, but they only seem to occur at the poles.

An artist's impression of lightning bolts in the northern hemisphere of Jupiter.

The team's finding was corroborated in a second paper, also published in Nature.

The findings of the research have been just disclosed in the latest research paper of scientific journal - Nature, which explain about the source of the results and how did the astronomers explored them from the Juno to resolve the unusual lightning mystery of Jupiter. Our equator receives a much larger slice of this energy than the rest of the planet (that's why it's the hottest bit), meaning air masses above the equator have a lot of energy at their disposal to move around through convection. Many theories tried to explain the phenomenon, but none of them could ever visualize traction as the answer. Unlike on Earth, lightning on Jupiter only seems to occur at high latitudes and is concentrated exclusively around the planet's poles.

Scientists are now saying that lightning on Jupiter can be as frequent as it is on Earth. "Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth", said Dr Brown. On our planet, lightning storms are clustered in the tropical regions around the equator. In any case, despite the fact that Jupiter's atmosphere infers the more of its heat within the planet itself, this doesn't render the Sun's beam irrelevant.

It was in the year 2016 that the Juno spacecraft flew closer to the giant Jupiter.

The information suggests Jupiter's lightning might be connected to the planet's source of heat.

In a release by NASA, the agency explains how Juno, which is right now orbiting the gas giant is using one of its sensitive instruments - Microwave Radiometer Instrument (MWR). This is much higher than Voyager previously detected and similar to rates found on Earth. And according to NASA, this is exactly what allows lightning to be produced. NASA just re-enlisted Juno, adding another 41 months to its mission.

Juno is bound to make its 13th flyby of Jupiter on July 16.

"Our unique orbit allows our spacecraft to fly closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft in history, so the signal strength of what the planet is radiating out is a thousand times stronger", Scott Bolton, Juno's principal investigator, said in the statement.

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