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First-ever close-ups of Jupiter's north pole show unexpected weather

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NASA's Juno spacecraft has sent back the first-ever images of Jupiter's north pole and those photos revealed storm systems and weather activity unlike anything scientists have seen on our solar system's gas-giant planets, according to NASA. 


The photos of the planet's north and south poles were captured during the spacecraft's first orbital flyby on Aug. 27, when Juno hovered about 2,500 miles above Jupiter's swirling clouds. 

Although scientists are still analyzing data, they've already come across some surprising findings. 


"It's bluer in color up there than other parts of the planet, and there are a lot of storms," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission, at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We're seeing signs that the clouds have shadows, possibly indicating that the clouds are at a higher altitude than other features."

One of the most notable findings, however, was that Jupiter lacks at least one feature that fellow gas-giant, Saturn, has. 

"Saturn has a hexagon at the north pole," Bolton said in a statement. "There is nothing on Jupiter that anywhere near resembles that."

Bolton said this only further proves that Jupiter is unique. 

Juno also collected "ghostly-sounding transmissions emanating from above the planet" during its first scientific sweep by Jupiter. 

Scientists at NASA said they have known about these radio emissions since the 1950s, but the sounds have never been analyzed from such a close range before. 

"Jupiter is talking to us in a way only gas-giant worlds can," Waves co-investigator Bill Kurth of the University of Iowa said.

Juno Listens to Jupiter's Auroras

He added that the sounds may be generated by massive auroras on the planet's north pole. 

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