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Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:31 am

Small, frequent lightning storms zip across Jupiter’s cloud tops. NASA’s Juno spacecraft spotted the flashes for the first time, scientists report August 5 in Nature.

“It’s a very exotic thing that doesn’t exist on Earth,” says physicist Heidi Becker of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Previous spacecraft have revealed high-energy “superbolts” on Jupiter. That lightning originates 50 to 65 kilometers below Jupiter’s cloud tops, where liquid water droplets form.

Scientists think superbolts form like lightning on Earth does: Colliding ice crystals and water droplets charge each other up, then stretch the charge between them when they separate

Source


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Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:33 am

Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops 080420_lg_jupiterlightening_feat-1028x579
Gerald Eichstädt, Sean Doran, MSSS, SwRI, JPL-Caltech/NASA (CC BY-NC-SA)

Wispy, white “pop-up” clouds on Jupiter, seen in this enhanced image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, could mark spots where ice crystals are thrown upward by raging storms below. Those ice crystals could then help form newfound lightning in Jupiter’s cloud tops.

Source / Image Courtesy


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Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:34 am

Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops 080420_lg_jupiterlightening_inline1
H.N. Becker et al/Nature 2020

Newly observed lightning showed up as bright dots (indicated with arrows) on Jupiter’s nightside, seen in this composite image from one of Juno’s cameras. The insets are pixelated representations of the events’ brightness (yellow is more bright; blue is less bright).

Source / Image Courtesy


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Exotic’ lightning crackles across Jupiter’s cloud tops 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Aug 16, 2020 2:37 am



Shallow Lightning on Jupiter

This animation takes the viewer on a simulated journey into Jupiter’s exotic high-altitude electrical storms. Get an up-close view of Mission Juno’s newly discovered “shallow lighting” flashes and dive into the violent atmospheric jet of the Nautilus cloud.

The smallest white “pop-up” clouds on top of the Nautilus are about 100 km across. The ride navigates through Jupiter’s towering thunderstorms, dodging the spray of ammonia-water rain, and shallow lighting flashes.

At these altitudes -- too cold for pure liquid water to exit – ammonia gas acts like an antifreeze that melts the water ice crystals flung up to these heights by Jupiter’s powerful storms – giving Jupiter an unexpected ammonia-water cloud that can electrify the sky.


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