General, Research, Technology

New photos of Jupiter received. What is special about them?

Although Jupiter has been known sincedeep antiquity (which is reflected in the mythology and religious beliefs of various cultures), the first detailed images of the gas giant were seen by humanity only in 1979, after the Voyager 1 probe transmitted the first detailed photographs of Jupiter and Saturn to Earth. Today, 42 years later, we can admire the beauty of this distant planet 24 hours a day, thanks to a variety of spacecraft: in 2018, the Jupiter system was visited by seven flyby missions (Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 , Voyager 2, Ulysses, Cassini, New Horizons) and two orbital (Galileo and Juno). A lot, right? The latest images, however, make you look at Jupiter in a new way: the Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii and the Hubble Space Telescope captured the planet in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light, revealing in detail the striking features of the gas giant's atmosphere. These include superstorms, powerful cyclones and, of course, the Great Red Spot - a centuries-old storm in Jupiter's atmosphere that is huge enough to swallow Earth with ease.

New images of Jupiter in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light should help scientists figure out what is driving the gas giant's massive storms.

New photos of Jupiter

Three images of Jupiter from an 8-meter telescopeGemini North at NASA / ESA's Gemini Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope shows the gas giant in three different types of light (infrared, visible and ultraviolet). Many atmospheric features can be observed in the image, such as the Great Red Spot, super storms and cyclones stretching across the planet's disk.

New images of Jupiter highlight key advantage multiwave astronomy: Viewing planets and other astronomical objects at different wavelengths of light allows scientists to gain information otherwise unavailable.

The distance between our planet and the largestplanet of the solar system varies from 588 to 967 million kilometers. Once every 12 years, Jupiter is near the perihelion of its orbit - this period astronomers call the great opposition.

Note that visible and ultraviolet speciesthe planets were captured with the 3 wide-angle camera on the Hubble Space Telescope. The infrared image was acquired with a near infrared thermal imager at Gemini North, Hawaii. All three observations were made at the same time, January 11, 2017, at 15:41 GMT.

Jupiter in infrared light.Near the summit, a long brown feature called the "brown barge" extends 72,000 km east-west. The Great Red Spot stands out prominently in the lower left corner, while a smaller object called Red Spot Jr. appears in the lower right corner.

Great red spot

Scientists call the Great Red Spot the mosta large atmospheric vortex in the solar system. In fact, it is a permanent high pressure zone that creates an anticyclonic storm on the planet. It is also interesting that the spot changes in size and changes its color over several centuries of observation.

Today Jupiter's Great Red Spot isa notable feature of visible and ultraviolet (UV) images, however, it is almost invisible at infrared (IR) wavelengths. On the contrary, the oppositely rotating cloud bands of the planet are clearly visible in all three images.

Jupiter in three types of light.

Seeing the Great Red Spot on severalwavelengths leads to other surprises - the dark area in the infrared image is larger than the corresponding red oval in the visible image. This discrepancy arises from the fact that different structures are revealed using different wavelengths; Infrared observations show areas covered with thick clouds, while visible and ultraviolet observations show the arrangement of particle chromophores that give the Great Red Spot its distinctive hue by absorbing blue and ultraviolet light.

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In the image, warmer areas appearbright, including four large hotspots that appear in a row north of the equator. To the south of the equator, the oval-shaped Great Red Spot, covered with clouds, appears dark.

Small red spot

As CNN writes, the images also showother storm systems visible on the surface of a massive planet. So, the area, called the Small Red Spot, is located in the lower right side of the planet, not far from its massive counterpart. This smaller storm formed in 2000 when three storms of the same size merged.

See also: What happens if people decide to land on Jupiter?

Like the Great Red Spot, this stormIt is colored with chromophores that absorb solar radiation at both ultraviolet and blue wavelengths, giving it a red color in visible observations and a dark appearance at ultraviolet wavelengths. Chromophores are particles that give the red color seen in the Great Red Spot. On the pictures you can see where they are located.