Astronomers have discovered signs of the existence of water on Jupiter. Moreover, the analysis of the Great Red Spot, the largest hurricane in the solar system, has shown that the gas shell of the planet has two to nine times more oxygen than the sun.
This is stated in an article published in The Astronomical Journal.
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The search for water plays an important role in determining the internal structure of the largest planet in the solar system. Data on computer models show that the core of Jupiter consists of successive layers of metals, rocky rocks and ice of methane, water and ammonia. The presence or absence of water molecules in its gas shell can help determine how reliable modern theories are.
A group of Gordon Bjorakera, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, carried out observations of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Using the telescopes of the Keck observatory, they received infrared spectra with a high resolution, allowing them to look at a depth with a pressure of 0.5 bar to 5 bar (the height at Jupiter is measured in bars, because the planet does not clearly defined surface from which it would be possible to count). In addition, astronomers studied Jupiter with the IRTF infrared telescope.
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As a result, researchers found at a height of about 5 bar lines corresponding to methane, phosphine and water. Temperatures at this depth, however, are too great for methane and the isotopes (molecules that differ only in the isotopic composition of atoms) to condense and turn into clouds. At the same time they correspond roughly to the temperatures required to freeze water at a pressure of 5 bar (approximately 257 – 290 Kelvin).
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The simulation showed that the researchers "almost certainly" found a cloud that consisted of liquid or frozen water. Moreover, it excluded the possibility that the Bjorakera group found clouds with phosphine. Researchers also estimate the amount of carbon monoxide in the lower layers of the Jupiter gas vessel. Together the obtained data indicate that the planet can be rich in oxygen – 2 – 9 times the size of the sun.
Now the results of Bjoracer in other parts of the planet must be checked to get a global picture of the water distribution. If the data of astrophysicists coincide with the data from the "Juno" probe, scientists can use a similar method to study other planets in the solar system.
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