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“We can make these features in a computer, but we couldn’t make them happen in a lab,” said Aurnou, a UCLA professor of earth, planetary and space sciences, who has spent the past decade studying computer models of swirling winds. “If we have a theoretical understanding of a system, we should be able to create an analog model.”
Views Jupiter’s south pole (upper left and lower right) and images from the lab experiment to re-create the planet’s winds (upper right and lower left)
“The faster it went, the better we mimicked the massively strong effects of rotation and curvature that exists on planets,” Aurnou said.
“This is the first time that anyone has demonstrated that strong jets that look like those on Jupiter can develop in a real fluid,” Aurnou said.
“The Juno data from the very first flyby of Jupiter showed that structures of ammonia gas extended over 60 miles into Jupiter’s interior, which was a big shock to the Juno science team,” Aurnou said. “UCLA researchers will be playing an important role in explaining the data.”