By Becky Ferreira
In a first, scientists watched an energetic eruption on Jupiter by peering some 30 miles under the clouds that enshroud the planet. The observations “provide a crucial, hitherto missing, link” in theories about the hidden dynamics that shape Jupiter, according to a new study.
Jupiter’s mesmerizing storms and colorful ribbons of gas make it one of the most photogenic objects in space, in the visible light spectrum at least. But to gaze below its ammonia-ice clouds, scientists need to use radio wave observatories like Chile’s Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
In early January 2017, scientists led by Imke de Pater, a UC Berkeley professor emerita of astronomy, used ALMA to check out a small bright white plume in Jupiter’s Southern Equatorial Belt that had been detected by amateur astronomer Phil Miles days earlier.
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