Jupiter’s atmosphere is filled with swirling clouds, massive storms, and beautiful belts. The energetic atmosphere of the gas giant has been a source of fascination for many researchers. Some wonder what happens under the thick layers of clouds as the mechanics which fuel the intense Jupiter storms have remained elusive for a long time.
A team of researchers decided to take a different approach in an attempt to unravel the mystery. With the help of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (also known as ALMA), the researchers were able to take a look beyond the upper atmosphere of the planet. The researchers harnessed the data collected by ALMA to create a three-dimensional map which traces the distribution of ammonia gas besides the layer of clouds.
A recent eruption has also given a chance to observe the atmosphere below the ammonia clouds. Hydrogen and helium are the primary gases which can be found in Jupiter’s atmosphere along with trace amounts of methane, ammonia, water, and hydrosulfide.
Jupiter Storm Revealed Better Than Ever In New Radio Wave Images
The top cloud layer is rich in ammonia ice. In the middle, we can find ammonia hydrosulfide particles. A layer of liquid water is present in at approximately 80 kilometers below the upper cloud level. Upper clouds form the remarkable white areas and brown zones which are visible from Earth.
Many of Jupiter storms take place within the belts. They are similar to the storms which take place on earth and lightning events occur often. In visible light, the storms take the shape of small bright clouds which are classified as plumes. The plumes can wreak havoc across the belt, remaining visible for several years in some cases.
During the study on Jupiter storms, the researchers discovered that a large amount of ammonia is propelled upwards during eruptions. It is believed that the plumes are triggered by a convection phenomenon which takes place at the base of clouds rich in water, which can be found in the deeper parts of the atmosphere.