NASA’s Juno spacecraft has provided a plethora of evidence to suggest that Jupiter is indeed thicc. But what lies beneath the planet’s moody clouds and marbled bands of wonder, particularly at the planet’s poles? Despite a multitude of new research, scientists are as mystified as ever.

Four papers published Wednesday in Nature provide unprecedented insight into the gas giant’s inner workings. Perhaps most intriguing is a new study about Jupiter’s polar regions, which apparently harbor cyclones. This makes sense because it’s Jupiter and everything there is perfect and beautiful and completely ridiculous.

“Jovian polar regions are not visible from Earth owing to Jupiter’s low axial tilt, and were poorly characterized by previous missions because the trajectories of these missions did not venture far from Jupiter’s equatorial plane,” the researchers write. “Here we report that visible and infrared images obtained from above each pole by the Juno spacecraft during its first five orbits reveal persistent polygonal patterns of large cyclones.”

In true Jovian fashion, these cyclones produce some breathtaking and bizarre shapes that would make Van Gogh green with envy. I mean really, just look at this Juno pic of Jupiter’s South Pole:

Jupiter never misses an opportunity to flex.

Researchers observed images from the first five of Juno’s six Jovian flybys. In the north pole, the team found eight circumpolar cyclones rotating around another cyclone. The south pole also harbors a large cyclone in the middle, which is encircled by five others.

The group attributes the movement of these cyclones to the Coriolis effect, which describes how things like storms or air currents appear to move in a certain direction as the result of a force, which, surprise, is called the Coriolis force. This is caused by the way a planet rotates on its axis.

As is the case with most things on Ol’ Jupey, there’s still a lot to learn about these storms.

“The manner in which the cyclones persist without merging and the process by which they evolve to their current configuration are unknown,” the researchers write. Classic Jupiter.


When your profession is studying ancient temples and cultural artifacts, you need a toolbox that matches the magnitude of the job. Brushes, buckets, and sieves have long been the foundation of an archaeologist’s work, but today, those essentials are paired with groundbreaking technology to deepen human understanding of our collective past.

As of June, a total of 31 states and the District of Columbia allow for the use of medical marijuana. Pain is the most common reason people say they need cannabis and the vast majority of users say that it helps. However, despite the claims of the many individuals who believe that cannabinoids — the chemicals in marijuana — can ease pain, it’s been difficult for scientists to explain why. Researchers published in JAMA Psychiatry now claim to clarify the discrepancy.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, better known as TESS, has one mission: To find exoplanets around the brightest stars near the Earth. In just five months, it’s clear TESS is up to the task. On Tuesday, NASA announced TESS had just identified two potential planets around distant stars and released the first set of images captured by TESS. In the same week, collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research submitted two papers outlining the evidence for the two planets.

For the first time since its launch in April, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has sent home images of our stellar neighborhood. TESS captured a series of images with its four wide-field cameras, comprising a full 24°-by-96° section of the southern sky, over 30 minutes on August 7. On Monday, NASA released the images — TESS’s “first light — which show over a dozen stars already known to have transiting planets.

SpaceX has set a new record for annual landings on a single drone ship, a key step in the company’s goal of making rockets reusable. The firm launched the Telstar 18 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit on Monday, with the first-stage booster returning to earth on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the fifth this year for the ship, and the first time more than four boosters have successfully landed on a single ship in one year.