Scientists recently discovered a high-speed jet stream at Jupiter’s equator using the joint NASA/European Space Agency/Canadian Space Agency James Webb Space Telescope. Webb’s images helped the team of scientists track fine details through the planet’s atmosphere, allowing them to measure these winds for the first time. The newly discovered jet stream will provide scientists with insight into how the layers of Jupiter’s turbulent atmosphere interact.
Webb observed the jet stream on July 27, 2022, when it peered into Jupiter’s lower stratosphere, the atmospheric layer above the planet’s cloud tops. The images allowed scientists to measure winds of up to 515 kilometers per hour, or about twice the sustained winds of a category five hurricane on Earth. The Jovian jet stream is located 40 kilometers above the clouds and, at approximately 4,800 kilometers wide, quite narrow relative to the immense size of Jupiter.