Peering through Jupiter's clouds with radio spectral imaging

Imke De Pater, R. J. Sault, Bryan Butler, David DeBoer, Michael H. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Radio wavelengths can probe altitudes in Jupiter's atmosphere below its visible cloud layers. We used the Very Large Array to map this unexplored region down to ∼8 bar, ∼100 kilometers below the visible clouds. Our maps reveal a dynamically active planet at pressures less than 2 to 3 bar. A radio-hot belt exists, consisting of relatively transparent regions (a low ammonia concentration, NH3 being the dominant source of opacity) probing depths to over ∼8 bar; these regions probably coincide with 5-micrometer hot spots. Just to the south we distinguish an equatorial wave, bringing up ammonia gas from Jupiter's deep atmosphere. This wave has been theorized to produce the 5-micrometer hot spots; we observed the predicted radio counterpart of such hot spots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1201
Number of pages4
Issue number6290
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2016

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