Jupiter looks pretty angry in "lucky" infrared shot

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/05/08/jupiter-looks-pretty-angry-in.html


I had to look it up.

Within the regions of gas, the temperature varies in the layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere. From the surface to about 30 miles (50 kilometers) up, the temperature decreases as you ascend, ranging from minus 100 C (minus 150 F) to minus 160 C (minus 260 F). In the next layer, the temperature increases with altitude, returning to up to minus 150 F again. At the top of the atmosphere, temperatures can reach as high as 1,340 F (725 C), over 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) above the planet’s surface.


Never have read a more confusing description. So… there are three layers, two thar range from -100ºC to -150ºC, but then the third (top?) layer goes straight to 725ºC but it’s the farthest from the superheated hydrogen plasma of the surface that is hotter than the sun???

I just… What?! And why they switches units at random and forget to put the ordinal on both Celsius and Fahrenheit units?


It’s nice, isn’t it? Also,

This is because heat is driven not by the sun but by the interior of the planet.

How this does relate to the top of the atmosphere being hottest?

Wait, is this the dotcom bubble we’ve been told about? I remember it differently…

All they had to do was watch the Pumaman intro.



At a guess

Jupiter is Big. I mean, really big. And not big like a Cadillac is big. Really, actually big. That means that the higher you go in Jupiter’s atmosphere the further and faster particles up there have to go to complete an orbit. In the upper layers the circumference is really large, meaning things have to really honk along to get around in a day.

Also, Jupiter’s atmosphere is really gritty. There is lots of “stuff” in there.

So, lots of quickly moving particles means lots or reasonably high energy collisions, each of which converts kinetic energy into thermal energy. The net result of millions and billions of such collisions in a temp of 725°C?


^ Also; friction generated between different layers moving at different speeds. But I would think that the density of the atmosphere is still key.


It’s really the visible-color palette that the underlying data was mapped to that looks angry. Just as easily could have mapped it to the usual brighter palette, but I guess they wanted to make it look like the original Doom.

That is so cool. We are truly in a golden age of celestial imaging with convergence of sensors and computation. Just came across t this amateur made moonshot combo :


Density of the gas matters a great deal with temperature measurements. The sun’s corona is thousands of times hotter than the surface, technically, yet much more survivable to spacecraft. Our practical idea of temperature just falls apart in really sparse mediums. Speculating, it could be this (maybe also an effect like our own auroras).

1 Like

Hi, adaptive optics engineer here. The term “lucky imaging” doesn’t mean that they happened to get one lucky photo. What it means, roughly, is that you take a whole bunch of images as fast as you can, and analyse each one to determine which parts of the image suffered from atmospheric phase distortions (including blurring), then put the ‘good parts’ of many together.
See Wikipedia for a little more info.



Gas density plus dust and other crud suspended in the gas.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.