“If you were mapping Earth you wouldn’t just fly over the United States.”
But isn't that what every Hollywood alien invasion ever does?
Data from the Juno spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter has shown the highly unusual nature of lightning on the gas giant, according to two new studies published in Nature on Wednesday. We've known that Jupiter has lightning for nearly 40 years, after the first probes went out there. But Juno has discovered that these natural …
How do you "map" what is after all just a very thick layer of clouds? "Exploring" would be more adequate I guess. You don't expect any features you see to be still there in [large amount of time], you just hope to get a general idea of what's happening down there. Isn't it.
I think Jupiter's atmosphere is large enough that many features are persistent,take the Great Red Spot, a storm that has been observed for nearly two hundred years,with it are many other associated features. I would image what passes for terrain beneath the gaseous layers which I would guess is liquid or frozen gas would affect the atmosphere above enough to produce feature that are related to position. So mapping is probably correct .
Like porcupines mating, the answer is "extremely carefully". What we can see of Jupiter is made up of weather systems, some like the great red spot are very stable. The GRS may have lasted centuries (it seems we're not entirely sure the earliest observations are the same thing), but even it is gradually changing size. Others are shorter lived, "Oval BA" is about the same size as the GRS and formed about a decade ago when three storms collided, the GRS itself occasionally chomps smaller storms. The different latitudes circulate at different speeds, apparently constrained by jet streams, so they map them within their own bands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Jupiter has some time lapses of the whole thing. So you can't map it "permanently", but can come up with a description on a certain time scale (you can't map the Earth permanently either, rivers, volcanoes and earthquakes shift geography about, and continental drift moves everything on a slow time scale).
"You can ask anybody who lives in the tropics..."
"...generates a separation of electric charge to kickstart lightning..."
"...sending out radio waves when they flash across a sky..."
"When lightning strikes, electrical currents zap the atmosphere..."
"But a dodgy valve now means the spacecraft is stuck..."
Bloody Hell - this reads like an article for 11 year olds. Sorry to the author - I do appreciate the time and effort it takes to write but come on....
'And while you're at it, the equator is not " a lot closer to the sun". A mere 4,000 miles in 93,000,000 is a close to irrelevant.'
I read that part of the article to mean that the Earths equator is a lot closer to the sun, than Jupiters equator.
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