Gemini Observatory/M.H.Wong ET AL

Scientists Use 'Lucky' Technique To Capture Stunning New Images Of Jupiter

Scientists have managed to capture some of the highest resolution images of the planet Jupiter ever obtained, and did so by using what's referred to as a "lucky" technique, BBC News reported.

The detailed photos of the glowing gas giant were captured in infrared by the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii , and have served to help solve the mystery of the planet's powerful, swirling storms.

The technique that astronomers used is known as "lucky imaging".

Giphy | The Telegraph

This involves taking a number of very short exposure images, and then only keeping the ones where the target is the clearest, which happens when the Earth's atmosphere is briefly stable. Otherwise the photos appear blurry.

When all the so-called "lucky shots" are put together, scientists can create images which Michael Wong of University of California, Berkeley, who led the research team, said "rival the view from space."

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Thanks to the scientists' three year-long observations, we now know much more about our planetary neighbor.


The mysterious dark spots that are found in the Jupiter's famous giant storm vortex, known as the Great Red Spot, were previously observed to appear, disappear, and frequently change shape.

Scientists have long speculated that these could be caused by some sort of mysterious, dark-colored material within the high cloud layer, or perhaps even be holes in the atmospheric clouds.

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Now they finally have a concrete answer, thanks to the super-clear image of Jupiter that Gemini captured.

Gemini Observatory/M.H.Wong ET AL

Jupiter's constant storms rival those we experience here on Earth, with thunderheads that reach 40 miles from base to top, (five times taller than the ones we're used to), and lightening flashes that are up to three times more energetic than ours.

As Wong expressed, the glowing "jack-o-lantern" effect we can see in the pictures are actually the warm, deep layers of the planet’s atmosphere glowing through gaps in its thick cloud cover.

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So as it turns out, those dark features on the Great Red Spot aren't masses of dark material, but rather holes in the clouds.

Wikimedia |

Now that that question has sufficiently been answered, researchers want to understand just what exactly makes, as well as sustains, Jupiter's incredible weather systems.

Specifically, they want to learn more about this planet's great storms which believe it or not can actually last for decades and even centuries.

h/t: BBC News, NASA

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