Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Water Discovered Within the Great Red Spot on Jupiter

 New research from a national team of scientists have discovered the presence of water ice in the cloud cover of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. This research was made possible using data gathered by two instruments on ground-based telescopes: iSHELL on NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility and the Near Infrared Spectrograph on the Keck 2 telescope.
 The researchers peered into the depths of Jupiter's Great Red Spot, going as far as 100 miles below the cloud tops (about 5-7 bars). There, where the temperature is believed to be around the freezing point of water, the team discovered a cloud layer using spectrography that contained frozen water.
  “The discovery of water on Jupiter using our technique is important in many ways. Our current study focused on the red spot, but future projects will be able to estimate how much water exists on the entire planet,” said Máté Ádámkovics, an astrophysicist as Clemson University. “Water may play a critical role in Jupiter’s dynamic weather patterns, so this will help advance our understanding of what makes the planet’s atmosphere so turbulent. And, finally, where there’s the potential for liquid water, the possibility of life cannot be completely ruled out. So, though it appears very unlikely, life on Jupiter is not beyond the range of our imaginations.”

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