Presidio Astrolecture Series: Jupiter and Its Moons-Recent Discoveries
Imke de Pater is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy at UC Berkeley, and a world-renowned planetary scientist. She’ll address the fact that despite the fact that Jupiter has been observed for decades from the ground and in situ by spacecraft, we still do not know its bulk composition nor do we understand its global atmospheric dynamics well. The sensitivity upgrade to the Very Large Array (VLA), combined with novel data reduction techniques, has enabled us to produce detailed longitude-resolved maps of Jupiter’s atmosphere at different wavelengths. Since at these wavelengths the main source of opacity is ammonia gas, our maps provide a 3D picture of ammonia gas in Jupiter’s atmosphere, within and below the planet’s visible cloud layers. These maps reveal upward and downward motions within the turbulent atmosphere, and bear a striking resemblance to visible-light images taken by amateur astronomers and Hubble.