Current DateSeptember 17, 2021

A brand-new storm has just been born in the atmosphere of Jupiter

An astronomer recently detected new convection movements rising above the clouds of Jupiter, southeast of the Great Red Spot.

Between Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot or S2-AWO A7, another big storm positioned to the southeast, there is now a whole new structure. It was discovered on May 31 by Clyde Foster, director of the Shallow Sky section of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, which aimed its lens fitted with a methane-sensitive filter towards the gas giant.

Interesting fact: the same area had been explored a few hours earlier by Australian astronomers. However, these convection movements were not yet present. We know that this cloudy plume, now nicknamed “Clyde’s Spot” (according to the astronomer who spotted it) therefore formed very quickly.

Fortunately, it also turned out that the American probe Juno was to fly over the area two days later, on June 2, 2020. “Given the timing, the fact that Juno is in a very elongated orbit of 53 days, and the fact that it can only capture a thin slice of Jupiter during the flyby, it is a remarkable coincidence”, underlines the astronomer on the website of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa.

Using data collected by Juno during this flyby, amateur astronomer Kevin M. Gill has reconstructed the image (below) that combines five different photos taken by the probe at a distance between 45,000 km and 95,000 km above Jupiter’s clouds.

All the raw images taken by the JunoCam of the probe are accessible to the public to browse them. Or, as is the case here, to rework them.

Clydes Spot
The “Clyde Spot” is positioned between the Great Red Task of Jupiter and S2-AWO A7, another storm, located to the southeast. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Kevin M. Gill.

The “Clyde Spot” appears as a kind of plume of clouds extending over the underlying cloud layers. These characteristics are easily detectable in the wavelengths of methane, appearing as bright spots, said NASA.

It is normally expected that Juno will fly over the area again on July 25. It will therefore be interesting to analyze the evolution of this new Jovian storm.