The Juno spacecraft photographed a lightning strike on Jupiter. As the agency explains, it could have been formed in a cloud made not only of water, but also of ammonia. NASA hopes to capture more such phenomena in the coming months.
Storms are a common phenomenon in the solar system – we observe them not only in the Earth’s atmosphere, but also on Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. It is on the largest planet orbiting the sun that the giant is located storm also known as the Great Red Spot. belonging to NASA The Juno spacecraft captured a slightly less famous but equally interesting phenomenon.
Lightning at the poles
The image taken by the spacecraft shows lightning near Jupiter’s north pole. On Earth, lightning strikes come from water clouds, while on Jupiter lightning is likely to occur in clouds containing a solution of ammonia and water, and is most often seen near the poles.
Juno captured this view as it completed its 31st close flyby of Jupiter on December 30, 2020. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 32,000 kilometers above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 78 degrees.
NASA explains that in the coming months, Juno’s orbits will repeatedly approach Jupiter, and the space probe will pass over the night side of the giant planet. This will give Juno’s set of science instruments even more opportunities to capture flashy lightning.
Main photo source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill