Stronger magnetic field, diffuse core and other surprises appear in data from first flyby
NASA, SWRI, MSSS
Jupiter’s scientific portrait is getting repainted.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft swooped within about 5,000 kilometers of Jupiter’s cloud tops on August 27, 2016, giving scientists their first intimate look at the gas giant. The data are revealing surprising details about Jupiter’s gravity, powerful magnetic field and ammonia-rich weather system. The findings, which appear in two studies in the May 26 Science, suggest researchers may not only need to revamp their view of Jupiter but also their ideas about how planetary systems form and evolve.
“We went in with a preconceived notion of how Jupiter worked, and I would say we have to eat some humble pie,” says Juno mission leader Scott Bolton, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.
Scientists thought that beneath its thick clouds, Jupiter would be uniform and boring. But Juno revealed the planet is anything but, Bolton says. “Jupiter is much