Observations of Jupiter’s infrared spectrum provide access to the internal workings of the extreme atmosphere of this archetypal giant planet. Gaseous absorption and emission features are superimposed onto a continuum formed from hydrogen and helium collisions and aerosol opacity, allowing us to reconstruct the three-dimensional thermal, chemical, and cloud structure of the atmosphere, from the churning cloud tops into the stably-stratified middle atmosphere. Spatially-resolved infrared spectroscopy (spaxels, or spectral pixels) therefore reveals the dynamics and chemistry of Jupiter’s atmosphere, from small-scale convective storm features, to medium-scale belt/zone variability, to large-scale global circulation patterns. Such observations were only previously possible from visiting spacecraft, such as Voyager and Cassini. In this presentation, I will discuss the latest developments in Earth-based infrared mapping of Jupiter, using both ground-based facilities (IRTF and VLT) and SOFIA (FORCAST), and their importance in supporting NASA’s Juno mission.
Infrared Studies of Jupiter’s Atmospheric Circulation in the Era of the Spaxel
University of Leicester