Juno Flyby Photos Show Jupiter To Be A Strange Alien World, Reveals Whole New Side Of The Planet

First Posted: May 29, 2017 04:50 AM EDT

The early science results from NASA’s $1.1 billion Juno project have reportedly shown a different side of Jupiter. The observations, based on the photos and information sent back by the Juno spacecraft, have scientists saying they have discovered a “whole new Jupiter.” The gaseous giant has a big but lumpy magnetic field, Earth-sized polar cyclones and storms that reach deep into its heart.

“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves,” Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton said, according to Astrobiology Magazine. “But now that we are here we are finding that Jupiter can throw the heat, as well as sliders and knuckleballs. There is so much going on here that we did not expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”

Israel 21c reported that the recent findings revolve around four facts. To begin with, the largest known planet in the solar system has a bigger core that is more packed with elements than scientists had previously estimated. The core measures between 7 and 25 Earth masses instead of 0 to 14 Earth mass. The planet itself weighs over 300 Earth masses and has half the solar system’s mass excluding the Sun. According to the researchers, a better understanding of the giant planet’s core is a major clue about its origin and formation.

Furthermore, the ammonia distribution in Jupiter’s atmosphere is different than expected. A strong plume is present near the planet’s equator from hundreds of kilometers deep in the atmosphere. The magnetic field of the gaseous giant is also twice as high as what scientists believed previously. In fact, it is 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth and is also irregular in shape. The new findings also show that the motion of Jupiter’s gases significantly impacts its gravity field.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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