January 27, 2023


For computer aficionados

Bet You Can’t Guess Which of These Images is of Earth and Which of Jupiter

When I initially noticed the illustrations or photos over on NASA’s Earth Observatory web page, I truly couldn’t believe that it. The swirls and whorls search remarkably identical, nevertheless 1 was taken by a satellite around Earth’s Baltic Sea, and the other by the Juno spacecraft orbiting around Jupiter, hundreds of thousands and thousands of miles away.

The differences between the two planets couldn’t be a lot more stark. Earth is a terrestrial planet built typically of metallic and rock. The other terrestrial planets in just the interior solar program are Venus, Mars, and Mercury. (You can believe of the Moon as kind of an honorary terrestrial planet.)

Jupiter, on the other hand, is a huge gasoline world, composed typically of hydrogen and helium. The term “large” really applies, as it is two times as huge as all the other planets mixed. In fact, Jupiter includes 70 per cent of our solar system’s planetary material.

Jovian Ocean

Like Earth, it does have a thing we can connect with an “ocean,” form of. But it is really vastly various from any ocean on Earth. As NASA places it, “Jupiter’s strangest attribute…may well be a 25,000 mile deep soup of exotic fluid sloshing all-around its interior. It really is called liquid metallic hydrogen.”

As I said, a person of the images at top was was acquired by the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter — but it did not detect people wonderful swirls and whorls in the planet’s liquid hydrogen ocean. All those signs of turbulence consist of ammonia-prosperous clouds swirling around the major of the planet’s environment.

“The eddies trace disturbances brought about by the planet’s fast rotation and by superior temperatures further in the atmosphere,” in accordance to NASA. 

Meanwhile, the other picture in the pair at top shows a phytoplankton bloom being formed into lovely patterns by the Baltic Sea’s currents and eddies. In fact, no two phytoplankton blooms are the exact same, “like the whorls of fingerprints,” in accordance to NASA.

Phytoplankton, by the way, are photosynthesizing microscopic organisms, generally solitary-celled crops but also which include micro organism and protists. And this is an additional picture of these organisms blooming in the Baltic:

A bloom of phytoplankton in the Baltic Sea, as seen by the Landsat 8 satellite on Aug. 15, 2020. (Credit score: NASA Earth Observatory)

These blooms appear virtually each summer season in oceans all over the world, like the Southern Ocean. There, around Antarctica, Lia Siegelman, a bodily oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was fascinated in the turbulence that triggers the gorgeous patterning. And then she seen how identical it was to patterns of turbulence seen in images of Jupiter’s ambiance captured by Juno. Given that then, that perception has inspired her and colleagues to work out what drives huge cyclones that swirl at Jupiter’s poles. You can examine a lot more about that research listed here.

“The fundamental turbulence, the dynamics, is the exact same,” Siegelman explained of the styles noticed in Earth’s oceans and Jupiter’s environment, talking at the December 2021 conference of the American Geophysical Union. “Even nevertheless the scales are wholly diverse — the vortices on Jupiter are 10 periods more substantial than people in the ocean — we can obviously see that they are created by the exact same variety of dynamics.”

And Now, the Drumroll

So, have you guessed which of the pair of photos at the prime of this tale is from Earth, and which from Jupiter?

If you guessed that the 1 on the still left reveals the phytoplankton bloom in the Baltic Sea… DING! You are appropriate! Nicely accomplished.

And now that we’re on the subject of comparative planetology, I have to question: Do you know about the incredible similarities amongst the Lybian desert and Martian landscapes?

Alas, that will have to hold out for an additional tale…