Science News looks over data from the Juno space probe and marvels at some of the strange things that are being revealed about the giant planet – including the clusters of cyclones at Jupiter’s poles that form polygons:
“We’re at the beginning of dissecting Jupiter,” says Juno mission leader Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. And the picture that’s emerging — still just a sketch — topples many preconceived notions.
Parked at each pole is a cyclone several thousand kilometers wide. That part isn’t surprising. But each of those cyclones is encircled by a polygonal arrangement of similarly sized storms — eight in the north and five in the south. The patterns have persisted throughout Juno’s visit.
“We don’t really understand why that would happen, and why they would collect up there in such a geometric fashion,” Bolton says. “That’s pretty amazing that nature is capable of something like that.”