Astronomy Picture of the Day
    


Churning Clouds on Jupiter
<< Yesterday 11.08.2020 Tomorrow >>
Churning Clouds on Jupiter
Credit & Copyright: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS; Processing: Kevin M. Gill
Explanation: Where is Jupiter's ammonia? Gaseous ammonia was expected to be seen in Jupiter's upper atmosphere by the orbiting Juno spacecraft -- but in many clouds is almost absent. Recent Juno data, however, gives some clues: some high-level clouds appear to be home to an unexpected type of electrical discharge dubbed shallow lightning. Great charge separations are needed for lightning, which might be created by colliding mushballs lifted by rising updrafts of gas. Ammonia and water stick to these mushballs which rise until they get too heavy -- after which they fall deep into Jupiter's atmosphere and melt. By this process, ammonia found missing from Jupiter's upper atmosphere reappears below. Pictured by Juno, churning clouds on Jupiter show not only mesmerizing complexity but some high-level, light-colored pop-up clouds. Understanding atmospheric dynamics on Jupiter gives valuable perspective to similar atmospheric and lightning phenomena that occur on our home Earth.

Peaking Tonight: The Perseid Meteor Shower

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
 < August 2020  >
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su





12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31





Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day

Publications with keywords: Jupiter
Publications with words: Jupiter
See also:
All publications on this topic >>