Jupiter doesn’t have seasons. That might seem like a weird statement, but based on 40 years of observations of the gas giant, scientists believe there aren’t any set seasons like what we experience here on Earth.
Unlike Earth which has four seasons, Jupiter’s atmosphere is subject to some unusual temperature fluctuations. Contrary to Earth where changes are predictable and more consistent, Jupiter experiences more drastic and varied changes.
A new study published in Nature Astronomy further inspects how these changes affect the planet, and it’s all based on several decades of observations and data. The tilt of our planet’s axis causes different seasons on Earth. Because of the tilt and rotation, the Sun’s rays reach different places depending on where they touch.
But, on Jupiter, the tilt of the planet is far less than that of Earth, with Jupiter sporting a 3-degree title compared to Earth’s 23-degree tilt. The sun’s rays strike Jupiter’s surface evenly across the planet orbit and rotation ,, reducing any seasonal variations. It’s an intriguing discovery but comes with even more intriguing implications.
Those implications, then, are that Jupiter still experiences drastic temperature changes across its surface. According to researchers, the unseasonal season on Jupiter is still evident. The temperature in one area seems to be reversed by the other.
Thus, if the temperatures rise in the northern region of the planet, they always seem to cool off in the southern region. It’s unclear exactly why Jupiter’s unseasonal seasons work this way. Still, it has given researchers even more to think about as spacecraft like Juno complete observations of the planet, and its various moons.
In fact, recent observations of the Jovian moon, Io, have shown some intriguingly hot temperature changes across the surface of the satellite. Further, as spacecraft dig deeper into the mystery of seasons on Jupiter, it’s possible we could learn even more about the planet, including more about how Jupiter ate other planets to grow so large.
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