Measurement of Jupiter’s asymmetric gravity field
Abstract
The gravity harmonics of a fluid, rotating planet can be decomposed into static components arising from solidbody rotation and dynamic components arising from flows. In the absence of internal dynamics, the gravity field is axially and hemispherically symmetric and is dominated by even zonal gravity harmonics J_{2n} that are approximately proportional to q^{n}, where q is the ratio between centrifugal acceleration and gravity at the planet’s equator. Any asymmetry in the gravity field is attributed to differential rotation and deep atmospheric flows. The odd harmonics, J_{3}, J_{5}, J_{7}, J_{9} and higher, are a measure of the depth of the winds in the different zones of the atmosphere. Here we report measurements of Jupiter’s gravity harmonics (both even and odd) through precise Doppler tracking of the Juno spacecraft in its polar orbit around Jupiter. We find a northsouth asymmetry, which is a signature of atmospheric and interior flows. Analysis of the harmonics, described in two accompanying papers, provides the vertical profile of the winds and precise constraints for the depth of Jupiter’s dynamical atmosphere.
 Publication:

Nature
 Pub Date:
 March 2018
 DOI:
 10.1038/nature25776
 Bibcode:
 2018Natur.555..220I