According to a news release by NASA, citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill processed an image captured by a NASA spacecraft showing lightning on Jupiter. The picture has gone viral.
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NASA’s Juno spacecraft observed the glow from a bolt of lightning near Jupiter’s north pole. The space agency released an image from the Jupter-orbiting mission. The spacecraft captured this image on December 20, 2020, when Juno completed its 31st close flyby of Jupiter.
According to a news release by NASA, in 2022, citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill processed the image from raw data from the JunoCam instrument aboard the spacecraft. At the time the raw image was taken, Juno was about 19,900 miles (32,000 kilometres) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, at a latitude of about 78 degrees as it approached the planet.
Explaining about the lightning bolts in Jupiter, NASA said that on Earth lightning bolts originate from water clouds, and happen most frequently near the equator, while on Jupiter lightning likely also occurs in clouds containing an ammonia-water solution, and can be seen most often near the poles.
Data obtained by Juno is providing fresh information on how the lightning processes on Jupiter are similar to those on Earth despite the dramatic differences between the two planets, according to scientists.
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Lightning is the most powerful naturally occurring electrical source on Earth.
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