Over the years of operation in the orbit of Jupiter, the Yunona spacecraft has made many important discoveries. It was with his help that it was possible to establish the depth of the Great Red Spot.
The large red spot of Jupiter (BCP) is a colossal hurricane-anticyclone, which is located about 22 ° south latitude. The vortex moves parallel to the equator of the planet, while rotating counter-clockwise with a period of revolution of about 6 terrestrial days. The speed of the wind inside the spot exceeds 500 km / h. Detailed study of the spot began in the XIX century, but it is possible that for the first time it was noticed earlier – in 1665.
Remaining the largest atmospheric vortex in the solar system, the spot constantly changes its size. So, in 2015 its width was 16 thousand kilometers, having increased in comparison with 2014 by 240 km. And the maximum indicator was recorded at the end of the XIX century: 41,038 kilometers wide (for comparison, the average diameter of the Earth is 12,742 kilometers). At the same time, there was no long-term data on how deep the OPF was going down.
It was only found out by 2017 on the basis of the material sent by the NASA spacecraft “Juno” (Juno). The station was sent to Jupiter on August 5, 2011 and five years later it reached its target. The analysis of the data sent will continue for several more years, and now the scientists told about the results of the investigation of the depth of the OPF.
It turned out that the “roots” of the most famous hurricane of the solar system go into the atmosphere to a depth of about 300 km: it is 50-100 times deeper than the terrestrial oceans. Their temperature at the base is higher than at the top, and this difference explains the powerful winds observed in the upper parts of the Jovian atmosphere. Among other new discoveries made recently with the help of Juno are the previously unknown radiation zone above the equator of the gas giant. High-energy ions of oxygen, hydrogen and sulfur, flying at a speed comparable to the speed of light, were recorded here. The sources of these particles can be molecules that are thrown from the satellites of Jupiter – Io and Europe.