In DepthPlanetary Science

Telescope and NASA mission get under Jupiter's skin

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Science  03 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6290, pp. 1155-1156
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6290.1155

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This week, a ground-based radio telescope has revealed that, beneath a veil of haze and clouds on Jupiter, there exists a giant wave of ammonia that circles the planet north of its equator. And next month, the NASA Juno spacecraft will arrive and peer even deeper, into a suspected water layer, for clues to where and how the planet formed. The discovery of the ammonia wave helps resolve a mystery that has persisted since the Galileo probe fell into a hot spot in 1995, and it could help modelers understand the deeper dynamics of the atmosphere. Jupiter's radiation belts prevent ground-based telescopes from seeing deeper, and so scientists are relying on Juno's daring, swooping polar orbit to provide one of the first views into the deep underworld of Jupiter's atmosphere.