Looks like you're using an older browser. For the best experience possible, please upgrade your browser or download a modern browser.
We recommend these free browsers: Firefox or Chrome
You must update your Flash version to view videos. http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer
For the optimal Juno experience please install Chrome. Download Chrome. Or continue to explore features of the Juno spacecraft using the links on your left.

News

06.06.18

Nike Air Max 1 Pinnacle Iced Jade Jade Jade Dark Atomic Teal 859554 300 Sz 7.5 NIKELAB a1c506

Ever since NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft flew past Jupiter in March, 1979, scientists have wondered about the origin of Jupiter’s lightning. That encounter confirmed the existence of Jovian lightning, which had been theorized for centuries. But when the venerable explorer hurtled by, the data showed that the lightning-associated radio signals didn’t match the details of the radio signals produced by lightning here at Earth.

In a new paper published in Nature today, scientists from NASA’s Juno mission describe the ways in which lightning on Jupiter is actually analogous to Earth’s lightning. Although, in some ways, the two types of lightning are polar opposites.

“No matter what planet you’re on, lightning bolts act like radio transmitters -- sending out radio waves when they flash across a sky,” said Shannon Brown of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a Juno scientist and lead author of the paper. “But until Juno, all the lightning signals recorded by spacecraft [Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini] were limited to either visual detections or from the kilohertz range of the radio spectrum, despite a search for signals in the megahertz range. Many theories were offered up to explain it, but no one theory could ever get traction as the answer.”

Enter Juno, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July 4, 2016. Among its suite of highly sensitive instruments is the Microwave Radiometer Instrument (MWR), which records emissions from the gas giant across a wide spectrum of frequencies.  

“In the data from our first eight flybys, Juno’s MWR detected 377 lightning discharges,” said Brown. “They were recorded in the megahertz as well as gigahertz range, which is what you can find with terrestrial lightning emissions. We think the reason we are the only ones who can see it is because Juno is flying closer to the lighting than ever before, and we are searching at a radio frequency that passes easily through Jupiter’s ionosphere.”

While the revelation showed how Jupiter lightning is similar to Earth’s, the new paper also notes that where these lightning bolts flash on each planet is actually quite different.

“Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth,” said Brown. “There is a lot of activity near Jupiter’s poles but none near the equator. You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics -- this doesn’t hold true for our planet.”

Why do lightning bolts congregate near the equator on Earth and near the poles on Jupiter? Follow the heat.

Earth’s derives the vast majority of its heat externally from solar radiation, courtesy of our Sun. Because our equator bears the brunt of this sunshine, warm moist air rises (through convection) more freely there, which fuels towering thunderstorms that produce lightning.

Jupiter’s orbit is five times farther from the Sun than Earth’s orbit, which means that the giant planet receives 25 times less sunlight than Earth. But even though Jupiter’s atmosphere derives the majority of its heat from within the planet itself, this doesn’t render the Sun’s rays irrelevant. They do provide some warmth, heating up Jupiter’s equator more than the poles -- just as they heat up Earth. Scientists believe that this heating at Jupiter’s equator is just enough to create stability in the upper atmosphere, inhibiting the rise of warm air from within. The poles, which do not have this upper-level warmth and therefore no atmospheric stability, allow warm gases from Jupiter’s interior to rise, driving convection and therefore creating the ingredients for lightning.

“These findings could help to improve our understanding of the composition, circulation and energy flows on Jupiter,” said Brown. But another question looms, she said. “Even though we see lightning near both poles, why is it mostly recorded at Jupiter’s north pole?”

In a second Juno lightning paper published today in Nature Astronomy, Ivana Kolmašová of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, and colleagues, present the largest database of lightning-generated low-frequency radio emissions around Jupiter (whistlers) to date. The data set of more than 1,600 signals, collected by Juno’s Waves instrument, is almost 10 times the number recorded by Voyager 1. Juno detected peak rates of four lightning strikes per second (similar to the rates observed in thunderstorms on Earth) which is six times higher than the peak values detected by Voyager 1.

“These discoveries could only happen with Juno,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio. “Our unique orbit allows our spacecraft to fly closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft in history, so the signal strength of what the planet is radiating out is a thousand times stronger. Also, our microwave and plasma wave instruments are state-of-the-art, allowing us to pick out even weak lightning signals from the cacophony of radio emissions from Jupiter. “

NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its 13th science flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on July 16.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. The Microwave Radiometer instrument (MWR) was built by JPL. The Juno Waves instrument was provided by the University of Iowa. Lockheed Martin Space, Denver, built the spacecraft.
Nike Air Flyknit Trainer SZ 12 Golden Beige Black Gum Light Brown AH8396-203,NIKE Matumbo 3 Volt Yellow Pink Mid Distance Track Spikes Shoes NEW Mens Youth 6,Men's Nike Air Max BW Ultra SE (844967 005)Grey Men's Sneakers Sz 9,NIKE AIR PRESTO SE 848186-002 WOVEN WOLF GREY BLACK WHITE DS SIZE: 8,Men's/Women's Nike Air Huarache Ultra sz9 Year-end special promotions Won highly appreciated and widely trusted at home and abroad various kindsNike Air Max 90 iD Shoes Summit White Cargo Khaki Green SZ 11.5 ( 931902-994 ),New Sz 11 Mens Nike Zoom Hyperflight PRM Superhero Red Reef Black 587561-800Nike Air Max Big Swoosh The Glove White/Black 832759-100 Men's Size 10,sz 10 New Men's NIKE AIR HUMARA '17 PREMIUM Steel Green / Volt / Grey AO2606 300,NIKE Air Zoom Trout 3 White Irid Black Baseball Softball Turf Shoes NEW Mens 15,Men's Nike Air Force 1 07 Athletic 823511 200 Khaki Size 8Air Jorden 1 White/White Size 7.5 353899 101,Nike SB Stefan Janoski Midnight Fog 2009 10.5 Black 10 11,Nike Kobe A.D. 922482-602 Size 15 Port Wine Xi Jordan 1 Air Max 97 98 4 Xii,Nike Mens NikeLab Zoom Fly SP Size 6 Running Shoes Neutral Indigo AA3172-500NIKE AIR JORDAN 11 RETRO XI LOW TD CLEAT SZ 9 COOL GREY WHITE AO1560 003,Man/Woman custom nike roshe zebra 11 New Listing Stylish and charming various kinds,Men's/Women's Nike ACG Dog Mountain Size 8.5 Quality queen Environmentally friendly Exquisite processing,Mens Nike Zoom Hyperrev Breast Cancer Size 10 (820224 606) No BoxNike Air Huarache Run iD Black Red White SZ 9.5 ( 777330-982 ),Nike Air Max Zero QS Men's Size 13 Running Shoes Cool/Dark/Wolf Grey 789695 003,de la sol dunk low size 10 ds,New Nike Lunartempo 2 BE TRUE LGBTQ 848124 600 Multi Color Adult Size 11.5 RARE,SALE NIKE AIR FORCE 1 LOW ULTRA FLYKNIT USA 826577-601 SZ 11 OBSIDIAN WHITE,Nike Zoom Kyrie 1 Nike iD 747423-991 Black Volt Red Mens Size 13,NIKE AIR JORDAN 6 Retro OG MAROON White sz 11.5 384664-116 infrared vi,Nike Air Jordan Trainer Pro DEREK JETER RE2PECT NY Yankees AA1344-401 Size 11,Nike Mens Air Force 1 High '07 Lv8 Basketball Shoe,NEW Nike Air Python SP WHITE / BAROQUE BROWN SNAKESKIN LUX SIZE 7.5-8 632631-112,Men's Nike Internationalist Mid Casual Shoes, 682844 404 Sizes 8.5-11.5 Royal/Bl,
NIKE SB DUNK LOW TRD 420 QS GALAXY SPACE JAM BLK 883232 001 MEN'S SIZE 9.5,

Members of the media, please contact:

D.C. Agle
Juno Media Relations Representative
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dwayne Brown
NASA Public Affairs Officer
NASA Headquarters

Where is Juno now?

Visualize Juno’s journey through space and get up-to-date data sets using NASA's Eyes on the Solar System 3D interactive.