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A Survey of Small-Scale Waves and Wave-Like Phenomena in Jupiter's Atmosphere Detected by JunoCam

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posted on 12.04.2021, 09:45 by GS Orton, F Tabataba-Vakili, G Eichstädt, J Rogers, CJ Hansen, TW Momary, AP Ingersoll, S Brueshaber, MH Wong, AA Simon, LN Fletcher, M Ravine, M Caplinger, D Smith, SJ Bolton, SM Levin, JA Sinclair, C Thepenier, H Nicholson, A Anthony
In the first 20 orbits of the Juno spacecraft around Jupiter, we have identified a variety of wave-like features in images made by its public-outreach camera, JunoCam. Because of Juno's unprecedented and repeated proximity to Jupiter's cloud tops during its close approaches, JunoCam has detected more wave structures than any previous surveys. Most of the waves appear in long wave packets, oriented east-west and populated by narrow wave crests. Spacing between crests were measured as small as ~30 km, shorter than any previously measured. Some waves are associated with atmospheric features, but others are not ostensibly associated with any visible cloud phenomena and thus may be generated by dynamical forcing below the visible cloud tops. Some waves also appear to be converging, and others appear to be overlapping, possibly at different atmospheric levels. Another type of wave has a series of fronts that appear to be radiating outward from the center of a cyclone. Most of these waves appear within 5° of latitude from the equator, but we have detected waves covering planetocentric latitudes between 20°S and 45°N. The great majority of the waves appear in regions associated with prograde motions of the mean zonal flow. Juno was unable to measure the velocity of wave features to diagnose the wave types due to its close and rapid flybys. However, both by our own upper limits on wave motions and by analogy with previous measurements, we expect that the waves JunoCam detected near the equator are inertia-gravity waves.


Levin, Orton, Sinclair, and Tabataba‐Vakili were supported by funds from NASA distributed to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Bolton and Hansen were supported by funds from NASA to the Southwest Research Institute and to the Planetary Science Institute, respectively. Brueshaber was supported by Western Michigan University's Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Ravine and Caplinger were supported by funds from NASA to Malin Space Science Systems. Fletcher is a Juno Participating Scientist supported by a Royal Society Research Fellowship and European Research Council Consolidator Grant (under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, grant agreement No. 723890) at the University of Leicester. Wong was supported by NASA's Juno Participating Scientist program; a part of his contribution was based on observations from program GO‐14661, made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at STScI, which is operated by AURA under NASA contract NAS5‐26555. Nicholson was supported by NASA funds to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a participant in Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at JPL. Thepenier and Anthony were participants in JPL's Student Independent Research Internship (SIRI) program.



Orton, G. S., Tabataba‐Vakili, F., Eichstädt, G., Rogers, J., Hansen, C. J., Momary, T. W., et al (2020). A survey of small‐scale waves and wave‐like phenomena in Jupiter's atmosphere detected by JunoCam. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 125, e2019JE006369. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JE006369


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