Measurement of Jupiter's asymmetric gravity field

L. Iess, W. M. Folkner, D. Durante, M. Parisi, Y. Kaspi, E. Galanti, T. Guillot, W. B. Hubbard, D. J. Stevenson, J. D. Anderson, D. R. Buccino, L. Gomez Casajus, A. Milani, R. Park, P. Racioppa, D. Serra, P. Tortora, M. Zannoni, H. Cao, R. HelledJ. I. Lunine, Y. Miguel, B. Militzer, S. Wahl, J. E.P. Connerney, S. M. Levin, S. J. Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

The gravity harmonics of a fluid, rotating planet can be decomposed into static components arising from solid-body rotation and dynamic components arising from flows. In the absence of internal dynamics, the gravity field is axially and hemispherically symmetric and is dominated by even zonal gravity harmonics J 2n that are approximately proportional to q n, where q is the ratio between centrifugal acceleration and gravity at the planet's equator. Any asymmetry in the gravity field is attributed to differential rotation and deep atmospheric flows. The odd harmonics, J 3, J 5, J 7, J 9 and higher, are a measure of the depth of the winds in the different zones of the atmosphere. Here we report measurements of Jupiter's gravity harmonics (both even and odd) through precise Doppler tracking of the Juno spacecraft in its polar orbit around Jupiter. We find a north-south asymmetry, which is a signature of atmospheric and interior flows. Analysis of the harmonics, described in two accompanying papers, provides the vertical profile of the winds and precise constraints for the depth of Jupiter's dynamical atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-222
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume555
Issue number7695
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 7 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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