Astronomers in Hawaii capture high resolution images of Jupiter using ‘lucky imaging’ technique, probe into planet’s cloud tops

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Scientists have always tried to gather new information about planets, stars and other celestial bodies. Recently, astronomers have obtained some of the highest resolution images of Jupiter ever captured from the ground.

Jupiter. Reuters

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The photos were taken using a technique called "lucky image" with the Gemini North telescope in Maunakea, Hawaii. This technique helps to remove the blur effect while looking through the Earth turbulent atmosphere.

Basically, in this method, a large number of very short exposure images are obtained and only the sharpest images are used. It is applied when the turbulence in the atmosphere is minimal.

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The researchers produced these images "as part of a multi-year joint observation program with the Hubble Space Telescope in support of NASA's Juno mission".

During the observation, scientists deeply investigated the top of Jupiter's clouds. The images showed the warm, deep layers of Jupiter's atmosphere shining through gaps in the dense cloud cover. The images, when viewed in combination with Hubble and Juno's observations, revealed that lightning and the largest storm systems are created "in and around large convective cells" over clouds of ice and water.

Astronomers have also learned that dark spots in the famous Great Red Spot, a giant storm vortex wider than Earth, are nothing but gaps in the cloud cover. Previously, they believed that the dark spots were due to cloud color variations. "Gemini's data was critical because it allowed us to investigate Jupiter's clouds deeply at regular times," said Michael Wong of UC Berkeley, who led the research team.

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