Astronomers used six NASA and NASA space telescopes in January 2017 to capture Jupiter sights in visible light and radio waves.
The atmosphere of Jupiter consists of hydrogen and helium, two of the most abundant elements in the universe, with a sprinkling of methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and water.
The telescopes were able to provide a unique view all up to 31 miles above the cloud deck. The uppermost cloud layer is ammonia ice, followed by a layer of solid ammonium hydrosulfide. The apparently stunning belts of white and brown areas are due to variations in composition. Below this upper cloud deck is a layer of cloudy liquid water.
The observations were included in a study that was accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.
"ALMA enabled us to draw a three-dimensional map of the distribution of ammonia gas under the clouds. And for the first time, we were able to study the atmosphere beneath the layers of ammonia cloud after an energy eruption of Jupiter," says Imke de Pater, author of the study and professor Emeritus in Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley.
They were able to track storms inside Jupiter's colored belts, just as we were tracking them on Earth and realized that storms were creating streams above the ammonia ice clouds. They appear as bright points on the colored belts of the planet. The storms also contained lightning. When storm clouds reach the coldest part of the atmosphere, they spread like cumulonimbus clouds, causing lightning and thunder on Earth.
Bright pros create belt breaks that can last for months or even years.
"If these loops are turbulent and continue to have convective events, they may disrupt one of these entire bands over time, although it may take several months," said de Pater. "With these observations, we see one rat in progress and the consequences of others. "
Observations emerged when an amateur astronomer named Phil Miles in Australia spied on Enigma equatorial belt, first as a small bright loop, followed by a larger one
The Atacama high millimeter / sub-millimeter in Chile captured the view of the atmosphere below streams in radio waves, which was compared to other visible light and infrared images taken from other telescopes at the same time.
"Our observations ALMA is the first to show that high levels of ammonia gas rise during a vigorous eruption, "de Pater said. "This has led us to confirm the current theory that energy flows are triggered by moist convection at the base of water clouds that are deep into the atmosphere. The floats bring ammonia gas from deep into the atmosphere to high altitudes, well above the main ammonia cloud deck. "