The incredible new photographs give a rare idea of what is happening under the swirling clouds of Jupiter during its storms. The images reveal how events disturb the color bands on the planet.
For the first time, images from radio waves allow scientists to look deep into the atmospheric conditions under Jupiter's colored ammonia clouds after a "vigorous eruption" conducted 50 kilometers below 31 miles of surface. The eruptions are similar to thunderstorms on Earth and may include lightning.
The image of the radio waves was created using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope, which allows researchers to make a "three-dimensional map of the distribution of ammonia gas under clouds", Imke de Pater from the University of California, Berkeley explained.
The images show how Jupiter's meteorological systems evolve and suggest that storms destroy the colored stripes of the layer from the planet's surface and may even change its color.
They also revealed high levels of ammonia gas, adding weight to the theory that lightning eruptions are triggered from moist convection flows of water clouds deep into Jupiter's atmosphere. These eruptions can push ammonia gas over the clouds to the coldest part of the atmosphere, where they create visible white pluses as they freeze.
"If these loops are turbulent and continue to have convective events, they may disrupt one of these entire bands in time, although it may take several months," de Pater added.
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