Scientists Capture 'Lucky' Photo Of Jupiter Glowing Like A Fiery Jack-O'-Lantern

Scientists Capture 'Lucky' Photo Of Jupiter Glowing Like A Fiery Jack-O'-Lantern

The stunning photo was taken in infrared by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii and is touted to be the sharpest photo of Jupiter ever taken from Earth's surface.

You may never know what to expect with high-definition snaps of our dazzling galaxy. Some of them are so amazing that you might even forget that there are problems here on Earth. Astronomers have just managed to produce a remarkable new image of Jupiter by tracing the glowing regions of warmth that lie beneath the planet's cloud tops. The stunning image was taken in infrared by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii and is touted to be one of the sharpest photos of the gas giant ever taken from Earth's surface. 

According to The Guardian, in order to achieve this unique resolution, scientists used a special technique called "lucky imaging". This method scrubs out the blurring effect of looking through Earth's scattered atmosphere. Lucky imaging also involves attaining several exposures of the target object and keeping only those segments of the image where the turbulence is at a minimum. When all the "lucky shots" are put together in a mosaic, a clarity emerges that's beyond just the single exposure.



“These coordinated observations prove once again that ground-breaking astronomy is made possible by combining the capabilities of the Gemini telescopes with complimentary ground- and space-based facilities,” said Martin Still, an astronomy program director at the National Science Foundation, which is Gemini’s US funding agency. This isn't the first time we've received such stunning imagery of Jupiter as the gas giant continues to enthrall us with magnificent photos



Researchers at the telescope's observatory site were determined to understand the science behind Jupiter's weather systems, particularly the great storms that often rage for several years. The study that led to this infrared image was spearheaded by the University of California at Berkeley. It was part of a larger joint program of observations that included Hubble and the Juno spacecraft that's currently in orbit around Jupiter. “The Gemini data were critical because they allowed us to probe deeply into Jupiter’s clouds on a regular schedule,” said Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley, who led the research team. “We used a very powerful technique called lucky imaging.” During the observation, the scientists dug deep into the cloud tops of Jupiter.



The initial images showed the warm, dense layers of Jupiter's atmosphere glowing through gaps in thick cloud cover. Considering these pictures and the ones from the Hubble and Juno observations, we find that the lightning strikes and large storm systems are created in and around large convective cells. These cells lie over clouds of ice and water, the Smithsonian Mag reports. "It's kind of like a jack-o-lantern," Wong says in a statement. "You see bright infrared light coming from cloud-free areas, but where there are clouds, it's really dark in the infrared."



"Scientists track lightning because it is a marker of convection, the turbulent mixing process that transports Jupiter's internal heat up to the visible cloud tops," adds Michael Wong, "Ongoing studies of lightning sources will help us understand how convection on Jupiter is different from or similar to convection in the Earth's atmosphere. These images rival the view from space,” said Wong. The ability to regularly obtain such high-resolution images is allowing scientists to begin to look for patterns on Jupiter’s stormy surface. “This is our equivalent of a weather satellite,” says Amy Simon, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in a statement. “We can finally start looking at weather cycles.

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