The Voyager 1 spacecraft provided the scientists with the very initial imagery of strange lightning on Jupiter. However, the lightning event on the planet has been nothing but a mystery. According to the latest data given by the Juno probe, this lightning phenomenon is actually similar to that of the lightning events on the Earth. This being said, however, there are certain differences.
According to the earlier received data about the lightning on Jupiter, known as whistlers, all of them came in the “radio spectrum” range of kilohertz. On the contrary, the lighting effects taking place on the Earth usually come within the megahertz or gigahertz range. The researchers involved in the study, have pointed out several reasons for this contradiction encompassing atmospheric variations, and many others. Juno scientist, Shannon Brown at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA said in a statement, “Many theories were offered up to explain it, but no one theory could ever get traction as the answer.”
In order to get clues for the further study of the lightning taking place on Jupiter, the researchers thoroughly scrutinized the data estimated by Juno’s Microwave Radiometer Instrument, which is developed to detect radio frequencies of a wide range. The researchers found that all the three hundred seventy-seven lightening events captured in the initial 8 flybys of the Juno fall in the gigahertz and megahertz range like that of our planet. Brown explained this saying, “We think the reason we are the only ones who can see it is because Juno is flying closer to the lighting than ever before, and we are searching at a radio frequency that passes easily through Jupiter’s ionosphere.” The scientists also found that the peak striking rate of the lightning on Earth and Jupiter are the same.
However, as revealed by the researchers, there is a key difference between the lightning events of Earth and Jupiter. That is the location of their occurrence. As detected by the scientists, lightning events on Jupiter mostly take place in proximity to the poles. However, much of the lightning events on the Earth take place close to the equator of the planet. Brown stated, “Jupiter lightning distribution is inside out relative to Earth.”