"Even though we see lightning near both poles, why is it mostly recorded at Jupiter's north pole?"
But the radio signals slightly differed from what researchers have recorded on Earth, raising questions about the nature of lightning on Jupiter. The spacecraft not only snapped a photo of a lightning storm but also detected radio waves from the strikes.
Another interesting fact from the Juno data compared to the Voyager 1 data is that the radio waves from the lightning were in megahertz scale, that is thousands of times higher in frequency than previously seen.
"No matter what planet you're on, lightning bolts act like radio transmitters - sending out radio waves when they flash across a sky. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation", NASA says on its website of the Juno mission.
In a separate paper published in Nature, a team of researchers led by Ivana Kolmašová of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague presented the largest database of low-frequency lightning-generated emissions collected to date.
We've known that Jupiter has lightning for almost 40 years, after the first probes went out there.
Lightning bolts concentrate near Earth's equator and near the poles on Jupiter due to the heat welling up at its maximum on these places. "Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth", said Dr Brown.
Even so, that level of heating still warms the equatorial atmosphere more than the poles, just enough to stabilise the upper altitudes and prevent the rise of warm air that otherwise would trigger convection and storm development.
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William Kurth of the University of Iowa, who is study co-author on both papers, notes that the similarities found between lightning strikes on these two planets were a bit of a surprise.
Lightning on Jupiter is believed to originate from electrical interactions between water droplets and ice particles, similar to how lightning happens on Earth.
Jupiter's receives 25 times less sunlight than Earth, as its orbit is five times farther from the Sun than Earth's. The spacecraft came nearly 50 times closer to the planet than Voyager 1 ever did, flying "closer to Jupiter than any other spacecraft in history", states Juno's principal investigator Scott Bolton from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who was involved in both studies.
Previous recordings of Jupiter's lightning, dubbed whistlers thanks to their characteristic whistle-like sound, all seemed to fall in the kilohertz range of the radio spectrum. The little craft that could will continue to beam back new insights about the gas giant through 2021.
"That distribution of lightning is kind of upside-down from what we'd expect on Earth", he said.
Jupiter's poles, which aren't warmed by the Sun, have a less stable atmosphere, according to NASA, which allows warm gases to rise and create the recipe needed to produce lightning. The decision was made on June 7, following an assessment that Juno is still capable of collecting science data.
Juno's Principle investigator from the South West Research Institute, Scott Bolton, revealed in an email that the orbits are longer than expected and that is why the spacecraft needs more time to collect planned scientific measurements.