Data from Juno may show whether there is a solid core at the centre of Jupiter
Earth’s crust and oceans give our planet an obvious boundary. But jump to Jupiter and no such edge is visible. Instead, its gaseous atmosphere gradually compresses until it becomes a liquid.
No one knows if there is a solid core at its centre. But with luck, data coming back from Nasa’s ambitious Juno mission will reveal what lies at Jupiter’s heart. Already images of exquisite swirling cloud tops have been beamed back, and the accompanying data reveals strong local variations in magnetic and gravity fields on the planet. “The most likely way this could occur is that strong winds deep below the cloud surface are disturbing these fields,” explains Gary Glatzmaier from the University of California.