June 9, 2023 1:11 am

When you image Jupiter, you most likely see a planet with orange and reddish bands and the popular Terrific Red Spot staring at you like a giant eye. 

But did you know these popular bands are ever-altering in size, colour and place? Every single 4 to 5 years, Jupiter modifications its stripes, and ever due to the fact Galileo Galilei observed them in the 17th century, scientists have wondered why.

What we do know is that every band, consisting of clouds of ammonia and water in a hydrogen and helium atmosphere, corresponds to robust winds blowing east or west. Scientists have also linked the bands, which attain extra than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere, to modifications in infrared variations inside the planet. But a group of researchers has just found a different crucial clue, and it all comes down to Jupiter’s magnetic field.

Associated: Jupiter, the solar system’s biggest planet (pictures)

Making use of information from NASA’s Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft, the group correlated the variations in the gas giant’s bands to modifications in its magnetic field. 

“It is achievable to get wavelike motions in a planetary magnetic field, which are known as torsional oscillations. The fascinating factor is that, when we calculated the periods of these torsional oscillations, they corresponded to the periods that you see in the infrared radiation on Jupiter,” study co-author Chris Jones, a professor in the College of Maths at the University of Leeds in England, stated in a statement.

As it goes in the science globe, this discovery produces even extra mysteries. 

“There stay uncertainties and inquiries, specifically how specifically the torsional oscillation produces the observed infrared variation, which most likely reflects the complicated dynamics and cloud/aerosol reactions. These need to have extra study,” study lead author Kumiko Hori, formerly of the University of Leeds and presently of Kobe University in Japan, stated in the very same statement. 

“Nonetheless, I hope our paper could also open a window to probe the hidden deep interior of Jupiter, just like seismology does for the Earth and helioseismology does for the sun,” Hori stated.

The team’s study was published on Might 18 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Comply with Stefanie Waldek on Twitter @StefanieWaldek. Comply with us @Spacedotcom, or on Facebook and Instagram.

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